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31/10/2000

BBC PUBLISH UPBEAT GOVERNORS' REPORT

THE BBC Board of Governors met recently at Broadcasting House, Belfast, for a briefing on audience developments in Northern Ireland and a meeting with BBC staff.
The account from the Board of Governors meeting has since been published by the BBC as promised in the BBC’s Annual Report earlier this year.
The Governors discussed the move of the BBC One main evening news from nine to ten o’clock and noted that the integration of national and regional news into the programme was particularly effective.
However, since this meeting it has been reported that the BBC 'Ten O’clock News' lost more than one million viewers in its second week, dropping from 5.4 million in the first week to 3.7 million in the second week.
In the wake of new strategies for BBC television and radio agreed in July and September, the board discussed new approaches to serving viewers and listeners in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions in the context of devolution. The proposals presented to the Board by the controllers in each nation focused on the full range of programming, including entertainment and factual programming. Governors will now consult with BBC’s Broadcasting Councils in these areas regarding these proposals. The strategy and additional spending is expected to be agreed at the November meeting.
The Board also discussed a half-yearly review of editorial policy issues from Phil Harding, Controller of editorial policy. The main issues highlighted covered European coverage and the recent fuel crisis.
The Board also addressed the implications of a report within the BBC’s accountability programme, BBC Listens, on cultural diversity. They expressed disappointment in the coverage of the experience and contribution of minority ethnic communities. However, they welcomed steps that have been taken in recent months to address issues raised by this report, requesting a further report on progress in this area to inform their assessment of the BBC’s overall performance in next year’s annual report.
Other areas considered included the latest developments in the BBC’s plans for development of their London properties, an update on the Government’s Communication’s Review, the BBC’s financial position and a report from the Governors' Fair Trading Compliance Committee.
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