BBC Hindi stems declining audience flow in India

MUMBAI: BBC World Service has stemmed its declining radio audience in India, according to an independent audience survey. The survey was commissioned by BBC World Service and was conducted by AC Nielsen between December 2004 and January 2005.     

BBC Hindi has grown by 4.3 million, taking the BBC's weekly Hindi audience up to 14.5 million. The survey, conducted in Bihar, UP, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, revealed that weekly listenership to the BBC confirms the BBC as India's number one international radio provider.

The BBC captures 40 per cent of all those listening to the radio in Bihar, and a third of radio listeners in Jharkhand. In the remaining three states, just under one in five of radio listeners turn to the BBC Hindi Service every week. BBC Hindi head Achala Sharma, says that the increase in audience this year is likely to be the result of a combination of factors, "We have developed our programming so it connects directly with our audiences in the Hindi belt. I am also sure that our roadshow marketing initiative in Bihar and UP last year has contributed to this success."

According to the survey, which was undertaken almost a year after the BBC Hindi roadshow ended, 16 per cent of weekly listeners said they were aware of the BBC Hindi events. This amounts to over two million people. The Hindi roadshow visited over 40 locations in UP and Bihar, giving local people direct contact with the BBC.

BBC World Service controller marketing communications and audiences, Alan Booth said, "India is a key market for the BBC. The rapid growth of TV viewing across India over the last 10 years, combined with India's broadcasting legislation which prevents news and current affairs on FM radio stations, has changed the media landscape.

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