BBC Scotland’s 7pm news bulletin, The Seven, is one of 21 programmes on the new £32m channel that have had no viewers at one point.
New broadcast viewing figures from the British Audience Research Board, reported by the Scottish Daily Mail, revealed that BBC Scotland had an average overnight audience of 7,200 viewers on 1 May.
- May 5, 2021
- April 30, 2021
- April 22, 2021
The channel launched in February, hiring some 80 journalists to bolster the BBC’s news offering in Scotland, as part of the BBC’s commitment to increasing its coverage in the home nations and English regions.
A BBC spokesperson said it was “not unusual for digital channels” outside of the main five to “occasionally record zero audiences in Scotland under the BARB system”.
They said that of the 21 instances when zero audiences were recorded over the period from 24 February to 2 June, seven of these were for one minute editions of The Seven just as the channel comes on air.
They added: “The remaining 14 instances were all after 11pm when TV audiences to all channels are in sharp decline and our programmes in these slots are often aimed at the younger hard-to-reach audience.”
BBC Scotland also hosts The Nine, its flagship news and current affairs show.
The broadcaster celebrated an “encouraging start” for The Nine at the end of February, despite the show seeing its audience drop 73 per cent across its first two programmes.
Around £7m of the £32m BBC Scotland budget has been earmarked for news.
The corporation claimed BBC Scotland was “bucking the trend when it comes to engaging younger audiences” and that the channel’s success would be “judged using a variety of measures”.
A spokesperson said: “We have always maintained the importance of looking at the overall performance of the channel rather than focusing on a few individual broadcasts.”
They added: “BBC Scotland continues to perform strongly and its viewing figures are in line with projections by the independent regulator Ofcom.
“It has gone from a standing start to being the most successful digital channel in Scotland outwith the five main channels – BBC One, BBC Two, ITV/STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
“During its core hours of broadcast – from 7pm until midnight – it is the most watched digital channel in Scotland with a share of 3 per cent.”
BBC Scotland’s viewership figures were unveiled following the public broadcaster’s announcement earlier this month that some people aged over 75 would no longer get free TV licenses.
The BBC cut will come into effect in June 2020 and will not apply to low-income households on pension credit.
It made the move to cut free licenses for over 75s after the Conservative Government said it would push the projected £745m cost onto the broadcaster.