Television

BBC sees audience boost for its news

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MUMBAI: The British Broadcasting Corporation has announced that its Global News division attracts a record weekly global audience of 238 million people to its international news services including BBC World Service and the BBC World News television channel.

Last year BBC's audience totalled 233 million. BBC World Service attracted a record weekly audience of 188 million. This figure was boosted by its new BBC Arabic television channel but masked an overall decline in radio listening which was down five million to 177 million in 2008/9. However, despite this loss, BBC World Service remains the world's most popular international radio broadcaster.

The largest overseas audiences for BBC news across all platforms come from Nigeria (26 million), the USA (24.1 million) and India (22.2 million). The biggest increases in the BBC's global audience estimate came from Arab-speaking countries like Saudi Arabia (+1.9 million), Egypt (+1.3 million), and Syria (+1 million), and newly-surveyed markets like Niger (+2.4 million), Liberia (+1.1 million) and Guinea (+1.4 million). However, radio audiences in Iran dropped by 1.6 million due to a decline in shortwave listening there and the cutting of medium wave transmissions.

Major development and enhancement of the BBC's international facing news sites and mobile phone offer was rewarded with a record 16 million unique online users, a 27 per cent increase on last year.

BBC Global News director Richard Sambrook said, "In a year when international radio listening to the BBC actually went down marginally, record overall global audiences demonstrate the success of our multimedia strategy and investments.

"People come to the BBC's international news services for journalism and ask difficult questions, yet they respect different points of view and actively encourages debate. Increasingly, audiences want access at a time and place that suits them."

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