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 You are in: Front Page > About Us > Annual Review
Homepage annual reveiw Director's overview A year in review
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Chairman's introduction
A world record breaker
At a time when it often seems fashionable to knock established British institutions, the World Service has pulled off a remarkable feat. In 2001 it achieved its highest audience ever – 153 million weekly listeners across the world. Its audience is bigger than the no.2 and no.3 competitors combined. The World Service has consolidated its position as the best known and most respected voice in international broadcasting. A recent independent survey revealed that 98% of all MPs agree that BBC World Service brings significant benefit to Britain.

Sir Christopher Bland
What this year's record radio audience figure does not reveal is the World Service's achievement in preparing itself for the digital age. Listeners in all 43 languages, with access to the web, can now hear World Service programmes online anywhere in the world. Online traffic has gone up by 62%. A whole new audience has opened up, taking the World Service into a new era as a multimedia broadcaster.
In 2001 the World Service achieved its highest audience ever –
153 million weekly listeners across the world.
We welcome the Government's decision to provide extra funding over the next three years to support online development, the expansion of the World Service FM presence and the upgrading of the transmitters in Cyprus and Singapore. This increased investment will help to ensure that BBC World Service has a strong future to match its past.
We must continue to focus on high-quality and authoritative content. BBC World Service is committed to bringing audiences independent, impartial news and information that can be trusted, and a broad international agenda, offering insight and analysis that no competitor can match. The commitment and professionalism of our staff, sometimes in dangerous circumstances, makes all this possible. I pay tribute to them for a year of outstanding achievement.
In her capacity as a BBC governor, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones has special responsibility on the Board for BBC World Service and chairs the World Service Consultative Group. She takes a keen and active interest in World Service affairs and I would particularly like to thank her for the valuable knowledge and guidance which she contributes.
I am delighted that more and more UK citizens can now hear World Service programmes at home in a growing number of ways, including through the internet, digital radio and digital satellite. I am one of those regular daily UK listeners – I can thoroughly recommend it.

Sir Christopher Bland
BBC Chairman
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