National Audit Office NAO

Audience data to influence strategy - Background

"The BBC is the UK’s main public service broadcaster, responsible for serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain. Audience data and insights are critical to the success of the BBC’s public service broadcasting, affecting decisions it takes about how to spend the majority of its £3.8 billion of licence fee income. These data and insights are vital for performance monitoring, informing the creation of new content and services, and helping shape the BBC’s strategy."

New methodologies - Staff needed

"encountered difficulties recruiting research participants and implementing new metering technology, causing delays of at least eight months to important aspects of the project’s scope."

Data coherence

"Most audience data the BBC produces and purchases provide comprehensive demographic data to analyse these groups, although, as in other areas, there are gaps in some online data."

Recommendation 5 The BBC should continue to capture more detailed data on the use of its increasing range of self-service tools, and consider ways to increase their use, such as through analysing and reporting data by division.
Performance review

"to support more effective oversight, the team’s formal performance reviews could include better information on: progress of, and benefits from, significant projects; comprehensive contract performance; and key workforce data."

"The team is making efforts to improve its efficiency and manage demand more effectively, though it is having difficulty implementing some of its plans."

Recommendation 4 The BBC should review how it reports internally on the Audiences team’s performance, in order to provide better information on progress with significant initiatives, contract performance, and workforce measures, for example on workload, retention and recruitment.
Efforts to improve

"The team is making efforts to improve its efficiency and manage demand more effectively, though it is having difficulty implementing some of its plans."

"only £0.2 million (17%) of savings identified so far are rated as posing no risk, in terms of their likelihood of being achieved."

"It is particularly important that the team brings this work to a successful conclusion since, in future years, it faces the challenge of balancing increased demand for its services with a requirement to reduce costs."

Benefits traicing

"12 The BBC is not yet sufficiently tracking the full range of benefits it expects to achieve from both the ongoing analysis of BBC‑ID data and Cross‑Media Measurement."

"Improving its approach to benefits monitoring would support more effective oversight and greater clarity about the impact of delays on both projects (paragraphs 2.16, 2.20 and 2.21)."

"Despite current difficulties, the BBC still expects the project to achieve the full intended benefits, but these have now been delayed."

Recommendation 1 The BBC should review how it is measuring and tracking all of the intended benefits of BBC-ID analytics and Cross-Media Measurement, and the timeliness with which these benefits are being achieved.

This report examines whether, to inform decisions across its public service broadcasting services, the BBC efficiently, effectively and economically understands how people use and respond to the full range of its services. The report does not assess the performance of the BBC’s programmes and other services but includes examples to illustrate the work of the Audiences team.

The items above were selected and named by the e-Government Subgroup of the EUROSAI IT Working Group on the basis of publicly available report of the author Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI). In the same way, the Subgroup prepared the analytical assumptions and headings. All readers are encouraged to consult the original texts by the author SAIs (linked).