BBC audience in Bangladesh increases

MUMBAI: BBC World Service has stated that its weekly audience in Bangladesh has increased by 2.6 million in the past year. Thirteen million Bangladeshis tuned in to BBC Bengali. These were some of the findings of a weekly report undertaken by an independent agency for BBC World Service.

The increase is mostly thanks to the rise in rural listeners and represents a strong recovery from the audience drop in 2003 following the Iraq war. The survey reveals that the vast majority of those who have ever listened to the BBC – more than 80 per cent - consider it to be trustworthy.

BBC World Service acting executive editor Asia and Pacific Region Sabir Mustafa said, "I am delighted that the hard work and expertise of our programme makers has paid off. There is an emphasis on making livelier, more interactive programmes, while maintaining the BBC's high editorial standards. We dedicated ourselves to winning our listeners back, and it's great to see this result."

BBC World Service controller marketing communications and audiences Alan Booth said, "The Beeb is by far the strongest international media brand in Bangladesh. It is a major market for us. What we have learnt since 2003 is how quickly we can be affected by global events. What is reassuring is how rapidly we have recovered ground and won back our listeners. These results are even more impressive against the backdrop of the general decline in radio audiences across urban areas in Bangladesh, as more people turn to TV."

The research was conducted between December 2004 and January 2005 by an independent research agency in Bangladesh. About 2,010 interviews were conducted, using random probability sampling among the general public aged 15+.

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