NEWS1 April 2001

BBC dismisses MORI critique

The BBC has rejected the findings of a MORI study that claimed the broadcaster had conducted a flawed public consultation exercise.

The BBC solicited the public’s views on proposed digital services last autumn via its website and a freepost address. The broadcaster also commissioned BMRB to run a parallel CAPI survey on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 respondents.

The results of both studies were used by the BBC in support of its plans for developing digital services.

But a consortium of commercial TV companies commissioned MORI to examine the BBC’s methodology. MORI’s report, published last month, found that the consultation was «clearly not representative of the public in any meaningful sense».

MORI concluded that the BBC had placed too much emphasis on the results from a self-selection technique in its submission to the government for new digital channels. MORI also reported that the results the BMRB research also appears to have been incompletely reported.

The BBC said the MR study endorsed its findings. And it generally dismissed the review of its methodology as «a pretty desperate attempt to undermine plans for the future of public service broadcasting».

Privately the BBC is understood to feel that it is inappropriate for researchers to criticise methodology in this way.

But MORI chairman Brian Gosschalk said the research industry should not ignore what it sees as poor methodology.

«To put our heads in the sand is not the right thing to do,» he said.

Gosschalk said MORI had highlighted both the good and bad aspects of the overall methodology in its report.

April | 2001