BBC Director of Global News, Peter Horrocks spoke to BBC staff yesterday from New Broadcasting House about the future of Global News. We've included an extract of the speech below. 

“From April 1 this year, in just six weeks, the BBC will take on responsibility for funding the World Service, as it did for BBC Monitoring a year ago.

I welcome that greater independence. I also welcome the fact that we will not be subject to the kind of government-driven and unpredictable cuts the World Service and BBC Monitoring suffered just over three years ago and since

There were some tough messages that day in January 2011. Some even talked, wrongly and recklessly, of the death of the World Service. But I can stand here today and talk with pride about how we have weathered that period. I can say that you have all played your part in an era of enormous change – and prepared the BBC for a thriving future across the world. 

Far from dying, the World Service and the wider Global News are thriving through that modernisation.

In the past three years we have evolved perhaps more than at any other time to keep up with the transformation of the media environment. Shortwave listening has been declining. TV is becoming the main source of news in many countries. In our key markets, internet access has been taking off, initially via PCs, and now even more rapidly via mobiles.

Our audiences are becoming younger. They are well-educated, confident and engaged in what’s going on in the world. With their intense use of social media, they want to participate in the news, comment on it, drive the news agenda and not just consume it.

In such a changing environment, competition has become tougher. Global state-funded and commercial players have been heavily investing. For example Chinese funding for international broadcasting has increased by sums measured in billions of dollars. At a country and regional level, news provision is rapidly increasing; Afghanistan, for example, now has 80 terrestrial TV stations and more than 170 radio stations.

We had to change to maintain our position as the leading international broadcaster in the world. That’s what we’ve done.”

Read Peter’s complete speech on the Media Centre.

Hannah Khalil is Digital Producer, About the BBC Website and Blog. 

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