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PSB Facts And Figures


PSB Facts & Figures


Licence fee

  • The licence fee costs £159 per annum, equating to 43p per day, per household, or £13.25 per month, per household
    • With 2.4 people in the average household, that’s an average of under 18p per day, per person.
    • If you tried to recreate the BBC’s breadth of content with other services, you could be spending nearly £60 p/m or £720 p/a (Netflix £10 p/m, Times subscription £39 p/m, Spotify £10 p/m)
  • Surveys suggest about 70% of UK adults view the licence fee as good value for money. [1]
    • In one study, two-thirds of those who initially disagreed with this changed their minds after living without the BBC for 9 days.[2]
  • In 1923, one licence fee cost the equivalent of 60 pints of beer. In 1965, the relevant figure was 79 pints, and in 2020 it was just 39 pints.
  • In 2018-19, the average cost per adult user-hour of the BBC’s service was 8.7p.[3]
  • As a result of government interventions since 2010, the BBC’s licence fee income has declined by £1.4 billion compared to if the licence fee had kept pace with inflation and no additional spending obligations were imposed.[4]
  • By 2019, the real public funding of the BBC had been cut by 30% since 2010.[5]



  • 99% of UK households consume at least some BBC services per week on average.[6]
  • 91% of UK adults use BBC TV, radio or online per week on average.[7]
  • In 2019-20
    • UK adults used BBC services for over 17 hours per week on average, higher than any other media brand.[8]
    • UK 16-34 year olds spent an average of 7 hours 30 mins each week with the BBC, higher than any other media brand.[9]
    • There were a record 4.8 billion requests for programmes on BBC iPlayer.[10]
  • The BBC website is in the top five most visited websites in the UK.
    • It is the only UK-owned website in the top ten most visited websites in the UK.[11]
  • BBC Radio 2 is the most listened to UK-wide radio service.[12]
  • Services offered by the PSBs account for 9 of the top 20 news sources in the UK.[13]
  • PSBs are especially important for the 1.5 million homes (5.3% of the UK total) that do not have access to pay-TV, subscription streaming, home broadband, or smartphones.[14]
  • A 2019 poll showed that 44% of UK adults would be most likely to turn to the BBC for impartial news; ITV was second with 10%, and Sky third with 6%.[15]


Economic value

  • For every £1 of direct economic output (Gross Value Added, GVA) generated by the BBC in 2019, the BBC generated a further £1.63 of economic output in the rest of the UK economy.[16]
    • This multiplier is substantially higher than the average for the ‘film, TV, video, radio and music’ sector.[17]
    • 50% of the BBC’s direct GVA impact was generated outside of London in 2019-20, compared to only 20% for the rest of the sector.[18]
  • The BBC’s activity supports a total of 53,600 full time jobs in the UK economy.[19]
    • For every 1 job created directly by the BBC, a further 1.7 jobs were created in the wider economy.[20]
  • The UK is the second largest exporter of TV in the world (after the USA), with exports amounting to £1.4 billion in 2018-19.[21]
  • In 2019, 48% of PSB spending on new programmes was outside of London – up from 38% in 2010.[22]



  • Between 2014 and 2020, the PSBs accounted for over 80% of the total UK commissioning spend on broadcast media.[23]
    • In 2018, PSBs spent £2.58 billion on original UK content.[24] In comparison, UK-based commercial providers (e.g. Sky) and streaming services combined spent £727 million on new independent productions in 2019.[25]
  • The PSBs show over 32,000 hours of first-run original UK content per year.[26] The US streamers made 200 hours of UK content in 2019.[27]
  • PSBs produce a wide range of programming. Drama and factual programmes account for 71% of Netflix’s library, but only 20% of programmes on PSB channels.[28]





  • In the year to March 2020, an average of 438 million people globally came to BBC News every week, an increase of 49 million (or 13%) on the previous year.[29]
  • In the year to March 2020, an average of 468 million people globally were reached by the BBC each week, an increase of 11% on the previous year.[30]
  • In 2020, the BBC World Service reached a record average weekly audience of 351 million, in 42 languages including English.[31]
  • Over a third (151 million) of the total BBC News global audience access it digitally.[32]
  • The BBC is the most visited news site in the world – during March/April 2020, it had 36% more visits than its closest competitor,[33]
    • In March 2020 it had 1.5 billion page views, 61 million video views and 179 million unique browsers.[34]
  • 2020 saw significant growth in various markets. In the Americas, the audience for the BBC World News channel grew by 50%.[35]
    • The audiences for BBC World Service languages also grew significantly: for BBC Chinese it grew by 141%, for BBC Russian by 32%, for BBC Serbian by 327%, and for BBC Yoruba by 166%.[36]
  • In 2020, the top 10 countries by weekly BBC News audience were India (60m), USA (50m), Nigeria (37m), Kenya (15m), Tanzania (14m), Bangladesh (12m), Afghanistan (11m), Iran (11m), Canada (10m), and Pakistan (10m).[37]



  • A 2020 Reuters Institute report found that BBC News was the most trusted news brand in the USA.[38]
  • Another 2020 study found that only three outlets in the USA were trusted more than distrusted by both Republicans and Democrats – the BBC was one.[39]
  • A 2019 global survey with 138,000 respondents found BBC News to be the world’s most trustworthy news service.[40]


[1] Patrick Barwise and Peter York, The War Against the BBC (2020), p. 34

[2] Patrick Barwise and Peter York, The War Against the BBC (2020), p. 34

[3] Patrick Barwise and Peter York, The War Against the BBC (2020), p. 32








[11] See, e.g.,




[15] Patrick Barwise and Peter York, The War Against the BBC (2020), p. 233


























10 Key Points

Grasp the benefits of Public Service Broadcasting in ten no-nonsense points.