A DAMNING new report has found that Scots are turning off the BBC and going elsewhere for news about their own nation.

According to the Media Nations research from regulator Ofcom, BBC One’s share of viewers had dropped by 10 percentage points to 54%, just three points ahead of STV.

And for news about Scotland, 44% of viewers were turning to STV – compared to only 39% choosing the BBC.

It marked a stark drop for the BBC, having fallen from 47% the previous year.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said the findings were “a serious wake-up call” for BBC bosses, with Ofcom also reporting that viewers rated STV higher than the BBC for regional news provision.

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Around three-quarters of viewers said they were satisfied with public service broadcasting (PSB) provision last year. In terms of “high-quality regional news”, 73% were satisfied with STV, with BBC One lagging behind at 65%.

Brown said BBC bosses had to overcome their “Westminster-centric Tory obsession”.

He told The National: “Frankly we are unsurprised at these findings in Ofcom’s report – but they must be a serious wake up call to BBC bosses.

“Spending cuts in Scotland were always going to lead them into bother – and now the BBC’s relevance and audience share in Scotland is rapidly diminishing too. We’ve been pointing out the network’s failings in Scotland for months but the BBC haven’t always respond well to criticism.

“Hopefully this report has supplied the jolt they need to admit fresh thinking is urgently required.

“With vast sums of public money at its disposal, BBC bosses must overcome their Westminster centric Tory obsession and provide a properly funded fresh news and current affairs suite of programmes that meets the complexity required by Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

The National: SNP depute leader Keith Brown

Ofcom said combined spending by STV/ITV and the BBC dropped by 3% in real terms last year – STV down by £0.5m to £10m (4.7%) and the BBC £1.1m lower at £43.3m (2.4%).

It said spend on news programming fell by 5.8%, from £20.4m in 2017 to £19.2m in 2018, in a year without a major political event.

Glenn Preston, Ofcom’s Scotland director, said: “On things like news, it would seem certainly in a Scottish context there’s quite a big drop in the use of, for example, BBC One, but it is worth saying TV is still the go-to place for that type of content.

“We flag the fact in the report that the launch of the new channel [BBC Scotland] had a budget of £32m – but Ofcom doesn’t offer a view on how much should be spent on the new channel.”

He added: “We had last year BBC One slightly ahead of STV in terms of the most-used source of news for people in Scotland looking for news about their own nation.

“That’s seen quite a big drop from 47% to 39% for BBC One and STV held steady at 44% – meaning it is the most-used news source.

“In terms of regional news provision people are saying STV is rated higher than BBC One – that’s 73% versus 65% so there’s a reasonable number of percentage points between them.”

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The report said more than half of homes in Scotland now subscribed to TV streaming platforms – such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and Disney Life – which saw a rise from 1.13m (46%) in 2018 to 1.30m (52%) in 2019.

Preston said 2018 was a “landmark year” for radio, with digital listening accounting for more than half of all radio listening for the first time after a slow start in Scotland.

“It sounds like a sci-fi movie, but the rise of the smart speaker has made a decent contribution to that with a big jump in households using it,” he said.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We have not had the time to study the report in detail, however we are pleased to note that it does highlight the strong start for the BBC Scotland channel.

“Ofcom reports that the channel had a viewing share of 2.7% across the first four months of broadcast – placing it behind only the main five public service broadcasting channels in Scotland.”

A spokesperson for STV said: “We welcome Ofcom’s Media Nations: Scotland report and are pleased that viewers in Scotland have provided such positive feedback on STV’s news coverage.

“STV is committed to providing Scotland’s best, most comprehensive and most trusted news service, serving both our digital and television audiences and meeting their changing demands for news.”