Ditch The Banquet, Gen Z Snack On News

As the Government lines up an attack on the BBC that will almost certainly see non-payment of the tv licence decriminalised before the licence is possibly banned altogether, the Corporation could not have had worse news. Young people are tuning in to the news much less.

To be precise, people between the ages of 16 and 25 are choosing to watch live broadcasts from public news channels (that's the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV) -- almost a third less than in 2014. 

To put that into perspective, in the age of catch-up and online news at everyone's fingertips, one might expect tuning in to live news on television to dip. However, when all age groups are averaged out, the overall dip is around 5%. For young viewers, it's 28%, meaning they are tuning out at five times the rate of the rest of the adult population. 

The downward shift comes at a the same time as trust in public service channels has moved downward from 67% to 60%. Nevertheless, Ofcom does say the likes of the BBC are "an  important source for trust news."

The real point of the report would appear to be the part where the regulator mentions that two in three people are now heavily on online news and, hence, the BBC is the most visited of them all.

At the same time we have a situation, Ofcom points out, where young people are more fleeting and are consuming news momentarily via a social media friend or an aggregator such as Apple News. This is surely the real point here. Attention is moving online and onto apps for the wider population, and this is only going to be more obvious in Gen Z who have grown up with apps and social media as their go-to source for running their daily lives.

What at first looks like a damning headline for the BBC is actually a reflection of the times for all public service news broadcasts. It will almost certainly be grasped as showing the BBC has lost touch with the youth, by politicians who want to join Boris' battle with the beeb. However, the report is clear. This is for tv news broadcasts on all public service channels. It's a trend the BBC should not take personally.

While some may take this as a sign that the BBC needs to be cut down to size, media execs will probably realise this confirms Gen Z as snackers. They don't want a banquet that starts off at a pre-arranged time (typically 1pm, 6pm and 10pm). They want to snack on news, typically recommended by a social friend or an aggregator, rather than taste the full gourmet menu every day.

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