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The Telegraph

Is the BBC neglecting older viewers? Telegraph readers have their say

The BBC has urged over-50s to enjoy shows made for a “general audience” after clarifying that it won’t make shows aimed specifically at older viewers because their tastes are too varied. It was also announced last month that BBC Four, the BBC channel with the oldest viewership, is to become a repeats channel while money and resources are to be diverted to BBC Three, a channel which is typically aimed at younger audiences.

According to The Telegraph’s Hannah Utley, the BBC needs to prove that it actually likes its loyal audiences, rather than desperately trying to attract younger viewers. But what do Telegraph readers think? Read on for the best discussion points from our readers and share your own view in the comments section at the bottom of this article. ‘The BBC are focused on young people to the detriment of traditional audiences’ @Steve Westmoreland: “The ‘youth’ are staying away from the BBC in droves.

The BBC are relentlessly focused on them, to the detriment of traditional audiences. “However, it cannot compete with streaming services so it is targeting a market that is not using their services and ignoring what it already has.” ‘Anything that appealed to older audiences has been taken for granted’ @Adrian Hobart: “Scared by the disappearance of young audiences after they graduate from CBeebies to YouTube, the BBC have focused on content designed and packaged to appeal to young people – i.e. anyone under 35, and anything that appeals to older audiences has been taken for granted at best, or restructured or dropped altogether if it didn’t appeal to a younger demographic.” ‘May we ask for exemption from the licence fee?’ @Anita Ghosh: “If the BBC decides not to make programmes for older viewers, may we ask for exemption from the licence fee? We could use those savings to pay for subscription services. At least, we’ll have a choice as to what we pay to watch.” ‘I’m 78 and don’t watch so-called shows for oldies’ @Eric Davison: “I’m 78 and I do not watch so-called shows for oldies such as quizzes, gardening programmes, history programmes or cultural stuff.

I enjoy series like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Spiral and The Bridge. “I rarely watch BBC One or Two or ITV. They send me to sleep. If it wasn’t for Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV I would junk my TV and save the BBC poll tax.” ‘The captive audience of the past year have been shown how poorly we are served’ @Molly Buchanan: “During this past year of lockdown our viewing habits have changed, we have become less tolerant of the continual drip feeding of drivel and repeats from the BBC.

We have signed up for Netflix and Amazon Prime. We hardly watch the BBC. “Now, to hear that this organisation is not at all interested in the “hand that feeds it”, I sincerely hope that it looks forward to its imminent demise. For surely that cannot be far off as the captive audience of the past year have been shown exactly how poor we are served by our supposedly ‘National Broadcaster’.” ‘I’m glad I cancelled my licence fee’ @Lib Erty: “So having decided to make the over-75s pay the licence fee, the BBC have turned around and decided that they will not be making any programmes for older people, only for younger people, all of whom stream what they want to watch from internet services rather than the massively outdated BBC. “You couldn’t make up this level of stupidity.

I’m glad I cancelled my licence fee.” ‘Nobody wants to watch programmes made for old people’ @Francesca Dixon: “Nobody wants to watch programmes made for old people, especially old people. People want to watch good programmes: well made, smart and interesting across a range of genres. “What on earth is a young person’s programme? When I was young, my view was that only old people wanted to watch something like Come Dancing.

Now renamed Strictly, is it considered a young person’s programme? Now I’m an old person and I still don’t watch it.” ‘The BBC is in the last chance saloon’ @Kenneth Starling: “I suspect the over-50s pay a greater proportion of the BBC’s income than the under-35s. It would be interesting to see the data.

I’m afraid the BBC is in the last chance saloon.” ‘The over-55s are more discerning and more demanding’ @Anthony Saint: “I suspect the real answer is because those that are over 55 are more discerning and more demanding. They want informative programmes that actually tell them something new and are well-researched. “They want dramas that are well-written and well-acted and current affairs programmes that actually explore the issues behind the news – and don’t preach or spread propaganda. “It is cheaper and easier to aim for a less discerning, dumbed-down audience.” ‘Here we have blatant age discrimination’ @Tony Ashbridge: “The BBC has decided to pour money into BBC Three to target younger viewers. This is bound to fail.

It is effectively decommissioning BBC Four which contains a lot of educational content which is supposedly part of the BBC remit and is the channel most enjoyed by older viewers. “So here we have blatant age discrimination, yet they still expect everyone to pay the same licence fee. The BBC on the one hand is chasing shadows whilst on the other is rapidly alienating its core audience. It is a recipe for disaster.” ‘To write off the majority of viewers and paying customers is foolish in the extreme’ @Make A Stash: “The under-35s barely watch scheduled TV.

They aren’t going to start. The best hope the BBC have is that they remember iPlayer exists while deciding what to watch on Netflix et al. “I get that varied interests makes things harder, but to just write off the majority of viewers and paying customers is foolish in the extreme. Particularly to woo a cohort that doesn’t care that you exist.” ‘The BBC is broadcasting the equivalent of junk food’ @Sean Putnam: “Isn’t it just that the BBC has been appealing, and continues to appeal, to the intellectual lowest common denominator to try to up its viewing figures, by broadcasting the equivalent of junk food? “I’m grateful, as ever, for the reminder not to buy another licence.” ‘This doesn’t sound like a great business strategy’ @Paul Murray: “The BBC is ignoring its established customer base while chasing a demographic that it doesn’t understand and that isn’t interested in its products?

That doesn’t sound like a great business strategy.” Is the BBC neglecting older viewers?

Have your say in the comments section below.