BBC’s global news audiences increase to record 265m

The BBC plays a vital role in troubled times... and this is borne out by the sharp increase in audiences in Russia and Ukraine.Peter Horrocks, Director, BBC World Service Group
Date: 18.06.2014     Last updated: 18.06.2014 at 10.44
New figures released today show the BBC’s global audience has increased to a record-breaking 265m people a week. The figures, for 2013/14, represent an increase of 9 million people on the previous year.

The Global Audience Estimate (GAE) measures the combined reach of the BBC’s international services - BBC World Service, BBC World News, bbc.com/news and BBC Media Action - across the world.

Russia has shown the biggest growth for a single market, with the audience more than doubling to 6.9m weekly as people turn to the BBC for trustworthy and impartial news. The BBC’s Ukrainian Service also reflects this trend with its audience more than trebling to more than 600,000 over the last year.

BBC World News TV shows an increase of 5m viewers, taking its weekly audience to 76m.

The Indian audience has grown, and shows signs of recovering from the last few years of decline. This comes thanks to investments in digital and TV for the Hindi Service, including the launch of the Global India programme on TV - which pulls in 6m weekly viewers - and an increase in World News viewers. These increases more than offset the loss of shortwave listeners to the Hindi Service.

BBC digital news services have continued to grow, with an 8m, or 21 per cent, year-on-year increase, bringing the digital audience to 46m.

Peter Horrocks, Director of the BBC World Service Group, says: “Today’s figures show the most successful year ever for the BBC’s global news services.

“The BBC plays a vital role in troubled times. We know that people around the world turn to the BBC when other impartial information is in short supply, and this is borne out by the sharp increase in audiences in Russia and Ukraine.

“Investment in TV bulletins and responsive mobile services for the World Service is bearing fruit. Radio will be a World Service mainstay for years to come, but as these figures testify, the way people access news is changing and we must continue to innovate if we are to flourish in the years ahead.”

Other findings of the Global Audience Estimate include:

  • The weekly audience for GN Ltd – which comprises BBC World News and bbc.com/news - has increased to 95.5m from 88m last year: a rise of 8 per cent
  • The audience for the BBC World Service has remained broadly stable at 191.4 million (slightly down from 192.2m last year), with the introduction of new TV language bulletins boosting the World Service’s television audience
  • Increases in television and digital audiences are offsetting the decline (mainly on shortwave and medium wave) in radio listening. Radio audiences have dropped by 17m since last year, although radio still remains the biggest platform overall at 128m listeners, with TV viewers at 126m
  • The launch of responsive design (now available for all World Service languages) and the move to ‘mobile-first’ has contributed to mobile growth. A third of all weekly visitors to World Service websites come via mobile
  • For the first time, a nationally representative media survey was conducted in Yemen, showing an audience of 3.8m weekly viewers for BBC Arabic TV in that country
  • The average age of the audience for the BBC’s global news services is 32

Independent research from Newswhip has shown that the BBC is by far the world’s most retweeted news brand.

The BBC is currently exploring innovative new ways of measuring its audience impact around the world to reflect changing audience behaviours around the world. 

Notes to Editors 

An infographic of the BBC Global Audience Estimate 2014 findings is available to download as a PDF here

An animated guide to the Estimate's key findings is available to watch on YouTube

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