BBC’s world news reaches a record 256m

TV gallery Prime Minister David Cameron appeared on World Have Your Say in June

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The BBC's international news services - on TV, radio and online - reached a record weekly average of 256 million people in 2012/13.

The latest data, published by the corporation on Tuesday, shows a rise of 7%, or 16.6m, on the previous financial year.

Mobile apps helped to boost audiences for digital services, which now attract 38m per week, compared to 30m last year.

There has also been a 45% growth in the total audience for the Persian and Arabic channels, which has increased to 41.5m. BBC Hindi also posted one of the biggest rises among language services.

Other findings include:

Start Quote

The international media market is more competitive than ever”

End Quote Peter Horrocks Director, BBC Global News
  • Total audience for TV news output increased by 1.7m but radio news listeners dropped by 0.3m
  • Total audience for the World Service rose by 11.8m to 192m
  • Nigeria is the "biggest driver of mobile traffic", where visitors to BBC mobile sites grew by 250%

Peter Horrocks, director of Global News, described the ratings as "a milestone for the BBC".

"I am also particularly proud that the BBC's Persian service has thrived during the last year despite censorship, deliberate jamming of satellites, and the continued harassment of BBC journalists and their families."

He added the record figures were also due to investment in new offerings, such as TV programmes in a number of languages.

"The international media market is more competitive than ever and we've had to innovate across the whole of our global news services to keep ourselves relevant to our audiences."

Public consultation

While the BBC World News TV channel is commercially-funded, World Service radio has been financed by the Foreign Office.

However, as part of the government's spending review in 2010, the BBC agreed to pay for the service from the licence fee after March 2014.

Following four years of cuts, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten recently said the service's funding would increase to £245m next year.

The BBC Trust has now launched a public consultation on its plans to govern the World Service, which is detailed in its first draft operating licence. The consultation will run until 20 September and more information can be found here.

In the UK, around 1.3m listen to the World Service, which is available online and on digital radio, as well as overnight on Radio 4.

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