The BBC brand has long been a household name, ingrained in British culture and – to many – is the epitome of British media and broadcasting. More recently, however, the brand has come under wide scrutiny for issues relating to impartiality and lack of objectivity. So how has the BBC fared in light of the news?
A loss of love
Compared to this time last year, Brand Love for the BBC has decreased enough to cause the brand to drop down one place. Yet, amongst certain demographics, such as those aged 25-34 and those who live in London, Brand Love has seen a slight increase.
It is perhaps unsurprising then that BBC iPlayer sits 5th in the streaming category (11th overall), falling behind its key competitors. Netflix is the category leader and the No.1 Most Loved Media Brand overall, with YouTube, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video proceeding to follow, all remaining ahead of the BBC platform.
Although BBC iPlayer may be falling behind on love in its category, when looking at consumer perceptions of streaming brands, it’s the category leader for being seen as reliable, and 2nd for being ethical – unexpected, given the recent allegations of bias the brand has faced.
Are viewers content with the content?
Thanks to the rapid surge of TikTok and Reels (Instagram), Gen Z are constantly inundated with short-form information and entertainment. Becoming accustomed to such an abundance of content on a daily basis may have instilled an expectation among this generation that this degree of choice will be available across all media channels.
As such, platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ have conformed to this expectation (and demand) and now offer thousands of options all in one place. However, excessive choice has its negative implications.
Increased choice often comes with a decrease in quality control – and for the consumers that value quality over quantity, many of these larger platforms may struggle.
Furthermore, excessive choice can lead to heightened indecisiveness. It’s easy to become flustered when presented with an overwhelming amount of choice. In fact, copious research suggests that consumers are actually much more likely to refrain from buying something when they are presented with too many options.
If consumers aren’t watching enough new content, due to the vast, intimidating selection, they may feel compelled to cancel their subscriptions, as a result of not feeling the service can keep them entertained.
In what could be a response to this issue, Netflix even introduced a shuffle button to further reduce the viewers need to choose a show, which is compounded by the fact that the next episode will automatically load and continue if not turned off.
Despite there clearly being a large appetite, and a time and a place for use of these streaming services, it makes the space that BBC iPlayer occupies in this category distinctive. The content iPlayer presents has a handpicked feel to it, with a select offering of quality gritty crime dramas and surreal bespoke documentaries.
So, what’s next?
There is often a neglect of more consistent consumers and viewers in popular business strategy, when priorities are centered around solely targeting younger audiences.
For BBC iPlayer, focusing on the demographics that appreciate the carefully curated selection of content on offer, and perhaps moving certain efforts away from Gen Z could be a sensible approach.
With regards to its recent criticisms, we can conclude that these haven’t affected consumers’ ethical and reliable perceptions of the brand, which begs to question whether viewers are disregarding any controversy in the face of feeling like they know and trust the brand.
Ultimately, does this then mean that criticism of brands like the BBC has any real scope in providing improvement and change?
Only time will tell, and we’ll be armed with the latest insights to answer.
To find out more about Brand Love and what it means for the media industry, download the report below, which includes the full list of the Top 100 Most Loved Media Brands in the UK.