LOW viewing figures for some programmes on the BBC Scotland channel should not be taken in isolation, the corporation’s director north of the Border has insisted.

Steve Carson was questioned by MSPs on “really low” TV audiences for news shows The Seven and The Nine, which are both broadcast on BBC Scotland.

It was previously revealed that The Seven attracted an audience of just 200 viewers on Sunday, January 7. One episode of The Nine – the channel’s flagship news programme – had just 1700 people watching.

With the BBC Scotland director appearing before MSPs on Holyrood’s Culture Committee, Tory MSP Donald Cameron asked: “Those figures showing really quite a low reach, do they not worry you?”

Carson said: “Figures like 200 being quoted in isolation don’t represent the actual performance of those titles.”

He stressed the importance of not “putting things in isolation” as he added average audience figures for the programmes were higher.

Carson insisted taking viewing figures for one show at a “certain timeslot, a certain period of the year, doesn’t represent the totality of the view”.

While he claimed that “audiences vary from show to show”, Carson said: “The Nine reaches over 100,000 viewers every week and The Seven reaches over 20,000 every week.

“On its own, that puts news on the Scotland channel ahead of any other news provider on digital TV in Scotland.

“The average audience for The Seven is about 8000. The Nine can get some low figures of 1700. I think on Monday night it was 23,000.”

He also stressed the money and staffing that had gone into the programmes, created when the BBC Scotland channel was set up, were part of “an investment right the way through news Scotland”.

The BBC Scotland boss insisted citing audience figures of 200 and 1700 for the programmes did not “reflect the totality of performance of that service”.

He went on to say: “Content can generate on The Nine and does that can appear on our social media or our online pages, generating significant views, can appear on network news as well.”

Carson added that overall “nearly nine in 10 Scots every week turn to BBC programming in Scotland”.

The corporation’s annual report for 2022-23 showed 87% of adults in Scotland had watched BBC programming on TV or the iPlayer, tuned into BBC radio or accessed BBC online services within the last week.

The BBC Scotland director said: “Time spent with BBC TV in Scotland and BBC Radio Scotland is over seven hours per week on average, so people turn to us, consumption is strong.

“The proof of the pudding is people turn to the BBC.”