BBC claims positive economic return to the UK of global footprint

Joseph O'Halloran | 12-11-2013

Fighting back after a concerted attack by the UK Government and being accused by cabinet ministers of ruining the local newspaper industry, the BBC is claiming that its global services produce positive business outcomes for the UK.

In a new report, ‘The economic return to the UK of the BBC’s global footprint’, which aimed to assess the indirect economic return to the UK from the BBC’s international operations — that is BBC World Service, BBC Worldwide and BBC Global News — the BBC asserts that cultural factors such as language, creativity and values are contributing to the UK’s attractiveness as a source of overseas trade and investment.

Surveying international business leaders in three key territories, namely the US, India and Australia, the report also found that almost two-thirds of the sample said the BBC was the main way they found out about the UK. People who consumed BBC services were more frequently found to have more favourable perceptions of the UK and those who consumed BBC services less frequently had less favourable perceptions of the UK.

Over half (56%) of respondents indicated that the BBC plays a direct role in influencing their business decisions in favour of the UK. This compared with 12% who disagreed.

“This report shows the enormous value of the BBC brand around the world,” said James Heath, the BBC’s director of policy. “These research findings confirm the powerful role that institutions like the BBC play in enhancing Britain's global reputation and show how this can deliver an economic return to the UK. It is particularly encouraging that the BBC World Service has a strong position amongst audiences in some of the fastest-developing economies in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

"As their GDP rises, their trade with the rest of the world is also expected to grow. The UK is well placed to benefit from this trend, in part due to the role of institutions such as the BBC in shaping perceptions of the UK and enhancing its international reputation.”