LONDON : Britain's venerable BBC may lose its relevance if it fails to engage a younger audience in the social media age, the UK broadcasting regulator warned on Thursday.

For the first time, less than half [49pc] of Britons between the ages of 16 and 24 reported watching BBC TV channels at least once a week, Ofcom said in its annual study of the 97-year-old company.

The BBC is also failing to break through to a younger audience with its iPlayer app, whose use by children and young adults is falling while that of rival Netflix goes up.

''The BBC is still a vital, valued part of the British culture. But we're concerned that a new generation is tuning out of its services,'' Ofcom chief executive Sharon White said.

''The BBC must set out bolder plans to connect with younger viewers and listeners.''

The regulator's report concluded that the ''BBC may not be sustainable in its current form''.

Responding to the report, a spokesman for the broadcaster said ''the BBC has a clear plan in place to meet the needs of the younger and diverse audiences, outlined in this year's annual plan''. [AFP]


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