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BBC World Service attracting millions in new audiences to TV, online, mobile and FM in changing media climate, says 2009/10 Annual Review


BBC World Service expanded its reach on new platforms last year in the face of a dramatic drop in global shortwave listening trends, according to the BBC World Service Annual Review for 2009/10, published today (5 July).

The Review provides information about BBC World Service’s performance during a year of major news events such as the earthquake in Haiti and the elections in Iran and Afghanistan.

During the year, BBC World Service attracted around 9 million new viewers to its television, online and mobile services, in addition to new listeners to BBC radio programmes through local FM and medium wave radio partner stations in a number of countries.

This increase came despite a loss of 20 million short wave radio listeners during the year, reflecting the increasing global decline in short wave listening.

Overall, BBC World Service drew a weekly multimedia audience of 180 million across television, radio, online and mobiles – an eight million decline from the previous year.

In his foreword, BBC World Service Director Peter Horrocks said: “The headline figures only tell part of the story. The strategic move into Arabic and Persian television channels has been vindicated.”

The estimated BBC Arabic television audience was up 3.5 million, making it the largest BBC’s largest language service with an audience of 22 million across all platforms, while BBC Persian has an estimated 3.1 million viewers in Iran.

Commenting on the effectiveness of BBC World Service, he added: “We are only beginning to appreciate the full impact of our journalism on local media and even on the course of events.”

He also cited the impact of citizen journalism on BBC World Service, especially during the disputed elections in Iran, when BBC Persian was receiving up to eight user-generated items a minute and traffic to its online site was up 155%: “BBC World Service will be a standard-setter in the new platforms and the new spaces, just as it has over the years in radio.”

Other review highlights:

Online performance was up 39% to 7.3 million unique users.

BBC World Service launched 18 new mobile sites in 2009/10, attracting 4 million page impressions.

Independent research continues to indicate that BBC World Service’s reputation for providing unbiased and objective news and information is stronger than that of any other international radio competitor in most markets surveyed.

BBC Global News – which includes BBC World Service, BBC World News television and the BBC’s international news online services – had a record global weekly audience of over 241 million during 2009/10. Peter Horrocks became Director, BBC Global, News in February 2010.

BBC World Service’s Grant-in-Aid funding during 2009/10 was £268m.
Notes to Editors

BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster delivering 32 language and regional services, including: Albanian, Arabic, Azeri, Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, English, English for Africa, English for the Caribbean, French for Africa, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Mandarin, Nepali, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese for Africa, Portuguese for Brazil, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish for Latin America, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, and Vietnamese.

It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 180 million globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels.

Its news sites, which received 7.3 million weekly visitors in March 2010, include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate.

It has around 2,000 partner radio stations which take BBC content, and numerous partnerships supplying content to mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices.

For more information, visit

For a weekly alert about BBC World Service programmes, sign up for the BBC World Agenda e-guide at .

BBC World Service International Publicity


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