The recently negotiated licence fee settlement, which will last for the remaining six years of our current royal charter, has predictably been the source of much debate. What is clear is that while the settlement gives the BBC certainty and stability, it is tough and will mean some difficult choices.
Inevitably, we are already beginning to hear concerns from viewers, and those in the industry who benefit from the BBC's contribution to the creative economy, about what this new settlement might mean for the BBC programmes and services which licence fee payers value.
It is against this backdrop that today we are publishing the final conclusions of our full service review of the BBC's flagship channels, BBC1 and BBC2, along with BBC4. This is the trust's first in-depth look at the performance of each channel, and much of it is good news.
Audiences have a very strong relationship with BBC channels, particularly BBC1, which the average UK viewer watches for five-and-a-half hours every week.
These channels sit at the heart of UK culture and national identity. And that means they carry a responsibility to set the standards for informing, educating and entertaining British audiences. Our review shows they are more than holding their own in a multichannel world, with high quality and approval ratings.
That doesn't mean of course that there aren't areas for improvement. Following the trust's interim conclusions, the BBC executive has already announced some changes to the daytime schedules for BBC1 and BBC2, and the trust will continue to review progress made in these areas.
But the biggest area of concern in the research we carried out for the review was the need for more "fresh and new ideas". This is a theme which we have heard consistently from audiences over the past four years, with viewers keen to see the BBC be more ambitious and take more creative risks.
While this is in part a reflection of attitudes to television across the board, audiences do have very high expectations of the BBC in this regard. With the privilege of licence fee funding and the widespread popularity of its channels, the BBC has an extra responsibility to do better than other broadcasters. Not in ratings terms, but in providing something that is different to what is available elsewhere, something "distinctive".
So the trust is absolutely clear that, while like much of the public sector the BBC is operating in a tougher financial climate, the quality and distinctiveness of what it produces should not be put at risk. It is what distinguishes the BBC from its competitors around the world, it will sit at the heart of the new strategy for the BBC that the trust will publish shortly and above all, it is what licence fee payers deserve and expect.
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