BBC World Service has stemmed its declining radio
audience in India, according to an independent audience survey.
BBC Hindi has grown by 4.3 million, taking the BBC's
weekly Hindi audience up to 14.5 million.
The survey, conducted in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal,
Jharkand and Rajastan, revealed that weekly listenership to the BBC
confirms the BBC as India's number one international radio provider.
The BBC captures 40% of all those listening to the radio in Bihar,
and a third of radio listeners in Jharkand. In the remaining three states,
just under one in five of radio listeners turn to the BBC Hindi Service
Head of BBC Hindi, Achala Sharma, said that the increase in audience
this year is likely to be the result of a combination of factors: "We
have developed our programming so it connects directly with our audiences
in the 'Hindi belt'.
"I am also sure that our roadshow marketing initiative in Bihar
and Uttar Pradesh last year has contributed to this success."
According to the survey, which was undertaken almost a year after the
BBC Hindi roadshow ended, 16% of weekly listeners across the states
said they were aware of the BBC Hindi events. This amounts to over 2
The Hindi roadshow visited over 40 locations in the states of Uttar
Pradesh and Bihar, giving local people direct contact with the BBC.
Controller of BBC World Service Marketing Communications & Audiences,
Alan Booth, added: "India is a key market for the BBC. The rapid growth
of TV viewing across India over the last 10 years, combined with India's
broadcasting legislation which prevents news and current affairs on
FM radio stations, has changed the media landscape.
"However, we are pleased to see that BBC Hindi is growing in popularity
in the towns and villages of Northern India.
This survey proves that, with new programme formats and astute marketing,
we are able to build on what had been a declining audience."
The survey was commissioned by BBC World Service and was conducted
by AC Nielsen between December 2004 and January 2005.
Notes to Editors
BBC Hindi broadcasts four times a day at 6.30am, 8.00am, 7.30pm and
10.30pm IST and is available on short wave and medium wave radio transmitters
and via cable television.
Hindi speakers across the world can access BBC Hindi programmes in
text and in audio at the 24/7 site bbchindi.com.
BBC World Service broadcasts programmes around the world in 43 languages
and is available on radio and online. It has a global audience of 146
BBC World Service is available globally on short wave; on FM in 140
cities; and selected programmes are carried on around 2,000 FM and MW
radio stations around the world.
The BBC World Service websites receive around 280 million page impressions