The BBC is losing the loyalty of its older, upmarket audience, a report has found, after a year in which the corporation concentrated its energies on wooing the young. Satisfaction levels among viewers and listeners aged 55 and above from middle class backgrounds are waning, according to statistics from Ofcom. At the same time, despite its efforts to appeal to teens and 20-somethings, the proportion of young people using the BBC each week fell from 86 per cent in 2017 to 79 per cent in the past year, while working class audiences also said they did not feel represented by the national broadcaster. In its annual report on the BBC, Ofcom said: “For the first time, satisfaction levels among audiences who typically use the BBC the most, and have been most satisfied with it, are beginning to show signs of waning. “Older people and those in high socio-economic groups have traditionally consumed more BBC content and been more satisfied than the UK average.” However, the amount of time this demographic spends with the BBC is falling “and older audiences in particular are starting to show signs of decreasing satisfaction,” the report said. The proportion of over-55s with a “positive impression” of the BBC fell from 64 per cent in 2018 to 62 per cent. Programmes that appeal to older, more upmarket audiences have dropped down the BBC’s list of priorities, the report showed. Hours of original programming devoted to arts and classical music have fallen by 21 per cent in the past two years and by 44 per cent in the past decade. History programming was down 25 per cent since 2018 and 45 per cent since 2010. The survey also showed dissatisfaction with Radio 2, a station with an average listener age of 52 and which has been accused of moving closer to commercial stations with its mix of pop and celebrity. Only 69 per cent of listeners now believe it “offers something that other radio stations do not”, down from 75 per cent when the question was posed a year ago. Overall, 87 per cent of the population now use BBC services (television, radio or online), down from 92 per cent three years ago. Working class audiences also complained in the survey of feeling unrepresented in BBC output, along with people with disabilities and those living outside London and the South East. Residents of Scotland, the West Midlands, the West of England had the worst perception of how their communities were represented. Ofcom warned: “If audiences do not consider the BBC a core part of their viewing, they may not see value in the licence fee, which in turn risks the BBC’s ability to deliver its mission and public purposes in future.” The regulator said that the BBC was taking positive steps to engage young people. But television viewing has fallen faster among 16-19-year-olds than any other age group, and Netflix remains their “go-to” service. Under its former director of radio and education, James Purnell, the corporation ploughed millions into BBC Sounds, believing its podcasts and playlists would be a hit with the young. However, Ofcom raised doubts and said BBC Sounds “has yet to demonstrate its impact on listening among young people”. Vikki Cook, Ofcom’s director of broadcasting policy, said: “The BBC faces the challenge of serving all its audiences, whatever their age, background, location. “Tim Davie [the director-general] has been pretty clear since he took over that the BBC doesn’t deliver to all audiences equally, and our research has corroborated that.” Trust in the impartiality and accuracy of BBC News has fallen, among women and the working class in particular. Only 54 per cent of adults consider the corporation’s news output to be impartial, and Ofcom said: “There is a risk that future relationships with audiences could be jeopardised if audience concerns around impartiality continue to grow.” Women are less likely to rate BBC television news as accurate, trustworthy or impartial compared to the same period two years ago. Ofcom said: “We cannot be certain of the causes of this decline, but perceptions of the BBC’s election coverage may have been a contributing factor.” Consumption of BBC news among working class audiences has fallen from 71 per cent two years ago to 63 per cent. The audience for BBC One news bulletins has fallen from 65 per cent of the viewing public in 2010 to 53 per cent in 2019/20, although figures have risen during the pandemic.