My taxi driver in Bristol last week gave me a sideways look, as if I were mad, when I asked which TV programmes he enjoyed. He didn't own a television, he said. He had never owned a television, and he didn't know anyone his age who did.
'My parents watch TV,' he conceded. 'It's for old people, innit, like you. No offence.'
None taken. An Ofcom report last October revealed that more than half of young Britons aged 16-24 did not watch a single minute of any BBC programme in the preceding week — neither on live TV nor on catch-up via iPlayer.
The youth driving the Uber cab admitted he did watch movies sometimes: 'My uncle, he's got Netflix, right. And I know his password.' But most of his screen time, he said, was devoted to YouTube.
Eight-year-old Ryan Kaji (pictured) from Texas reviews toys: 24.2 million people have signed up to watch his daily chatterings
Many DIY broadcasters on YouTube, the free video channel owned by Google, attract audiences that the Beeb hasn't dreamed of for decades. Eight-year-old Ryan Kaji from Texas, for instance, reviews toys: 24.2 million people have signed up to watch his daily chatterings.
Compare that with the figures for BBC1's biggest hit in years, the Christmas edition of Gavin And Stacey, which sent Auntie into ecstasies by netting 17.1 million — over seven million fewer viewers.
How can the Corporation compete? By hiring YouTube stars and viewers to present a show, perhaps. Four of them, all in that elusive 16-25 age bracket, were sent to Los Angeles to learn about the cosmetics industry in Beauty Laid Bare (BBC1).
All four were stilted, awkward personalities, who recited their lines like they were reading them off the label on a box of make-up.
BBC1's biggest hit in years, the Christmas edition of Gavin And Stacey, which sent