BBC to respond to Barwise, Gardam reviews

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The BBC was today expected to publish its responses to independent reviews of its digital television and radio services.

The reviews, conducted by London Business School's Patrick Barwise and former Channel 4 director of programmes Tim Gardam, respectively, were both published in October giving the corporation until the end of November to respond.

In his report, Barwise said that while BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies and CBBC had all largely met their remits, BBC Three and BBC Four were providing poor value for money due to their low viewing figures. Barwise said BBC Three should cease its "obsession" with the 25 to 34-year-old age group, and BBC Four's appeal should be "more selective about showing arts and other programmes which virtually no-one watches."

Gardam hailed the BBC's expansion into digital radio a success, and said 1Xtra, Five Live Sports Extra, 6 Music, BBC 7, and the Asian Network had all met the terms of their approvals.

Last month, culture secretary Tessa Jowell appeared ready to defend BBC Four's programming strategy. She told the Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that it was "extraordinarily popular" among its devotees. But in a less positive comment she said BBC Three "faced a more difficult challenge", and added: "I think it's right to say BBC Three ought to broaden its age range."

Lovelacemedia  |  03.12.2004

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