Ahh, summer. Days filled with cold drinks, time on the beach and… viewer trust scandals? Not all British broadcasters had an easy go of it this summer. Several were involved in well-publicized incidents that took a toll on viewer trust.
In response, broadcasters are trying to make amends with viewers. On July 24, Channel 4 and Five announced they are co-authoring an updated Independent Producer’s Handbook, to be published this fall, which ‘will be reminding its suppliers of their duties and obligations.’ C4 also announced a larger action plan ‘designed to safeguard viewer trust in its programs,’ including strengthened accountability for indie producers. At Five, chief executive Jane Lighting said ‘The question of viewer trust is the most serious issue we face today. Our viewers, brand and reputation are the most valuable assets we have.’ The BBC also emphasized its stance in a statement to realscreen: ‘The BBC regards trust as the cornerstone of its values. We believe that when we get this wrong we should say so, even if that means that in the short term the public’s trust in the BBC is dented. Our experience in the past tells us that this openness – accompanied by actions – helps to build public confidence.’ This fall, the Beeb will make public reviews it is conducting into some of the recent events.