Television

BBC’s combined global audience touches 308 million

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MUMBAI: BBC’s weekly global audience consists of 308 million people as per new figures unveiled today. This represents the combined measured reach of international BBC content – both news and entertainment – for the year 2014-15 and is the first time this figure has ever been measured in this way.

In 2013, BBC director general Tony Hall set a target of 500 million for the BBC’s global reach for 2022.

The figures by the BBC Global Audience Measure (GAM) reveal that the BBC’s weekly global news audience, which is measured each year, has increased by 18 million people, or seven per cent since last year, to a record-breaking 283 million. This means that one in every 16 adults around the world uses BBC News.

For the first time, television (148 million) overtook radio (133 million) as the most popular platform for BBC international news, and it is also the first time since BBC’s GAM tracked audiences for all three platforms – radio, TV and online (55 million) – in English and 28 other languages – that they’ve all grown in the same year.

The BBC World Service’s audience has increased by 10 per cent in its first year of licence fee funding and now stands at 210 million, with the biggest boost coming from new World Service TV news bulletins in languages other than English.

The biggest growth for a single service comes for BBC World Service English, which has its highest ever weekly reach ever with an audience of 52 million, an increase of more than 25 per cent. The countries where the audience increases for World Service English have been highest are Nigeria, USA, Pakistan and Tanzania.

BBC Global News Ltd’s audience has grown to 105 million with World News TV’s up by 12 per cent, and bbc.com/news growing by 16 per cent.

BBC World Service Group director Fran Unsworth said, “These amazing figures demonstrate the importance and impact of the BBC around the world. In times of crisis and in countries lacking media freedom, people around the world turn to BBC for trusted and accurate information. Thanks to our digital innovation we now have more ways than ever before of reaching our audience – from the Whatsapp Service we set up during the West Africa Ebola outbreak to our pop-up Thai news stream on Facebook following the military coup.”

BBC Worldwide director, global and CEO Tim Davie added, “Today’s audience numbers show the global reach of the BBC to be strong and growing.  The consumption of branded BBC services across TV, radio and digital platforms speaks to the international appetite for premium content across all the genres for which we are best known – primarily news, but increasingly for drama, factual and entertainment. Having a robust but prudent measurement system in place also helps increase our understanding of our audiences, enabling us to serve them to the very best of our ability in the future.”

Additionally, the World Service Group is going from strength to strength in both developed and developing markets, with the single biggest audience for any country in the USA (30 million), and with more than a third of the total audience on the African continent (100 million), the biggest BBC audience ever seen on any continent.

Digital innovations from the World Service Group over the past year have included a new Africa livepage on the BBC website; the Thai ‘pop up’ news stream on Facebook; the emergency Ebola service on Whatsapp in West Africa; chat app news services on Line, Mxit, WeChat and WhatsApp; and the move of all 27 language service websites plus News to fully responsive design, which means they can easily be read on mobile phones of all shapes and standards.

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