Record audience figures for BBC’s global news services

New figures released today show the BBC’s global news services reach 256m people each week, the biggest ever audience.

Published: 25 June 2013
This is an enormous achievement and cements our position as one of Britain’s most successful and influential global brands."
— Peter Horrocks, Director, Global News

These figures, for the year 2012/13, represent an increase of 16.6 million people, or 7%, on the previous year. The World Service now has a record weekly audience of 192m people.

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

There has been significant growth in audiences for BBC digital sites, which now reach 38m people every week, an increase of 8m. 

World Service TV audiences for Persian and Arabic have also grown rapidly, with a total of 41.5m viewers, compared to 28.7m last year. These growth areas are bringing in younger audiences.

Peter Horrocks, Director of Global News, said: “This is a milestone for the BBC, with more than a quarter of a billion people tuning in to radio, TV and digital services every week. Today’s figures shows there is a growing worldwide audience for impartial, trustworthy journalism. This is an enormous achievement and cements our position as one of Britain’s most successful and influential global brands.

"The BBC World Service is emerging from a difficult period of funding cuts and the closure of services. Today’s record audience figures come despite this, thanks to the quality of our journalism and the decisions we have made to invest in new offers, such as TV programmes in a number of our 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.

"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.”

Other findings of the GAE include:

  • Across the whole of global news, radio audiences have dropped slightly by 0.3m with TV audiences increasing by 10.7m and digital by 7.8m
  • Total World Service audiences have grown by 11.8m to a total of 192m
  • The language services with the biggest audience growth are Arabic, Persian, and Hindi. Arabic audiences in Egypt have increased by 6.5m – audience figures quadrupled during the Arab Spring and have stayed at a high level since
  • For the first time estimates were conducted in Libya and Darfur, showing significant Arabic audiences in those countries – with 1.9m or 42% reach in Libya and 0.8m or 23% reach in Darfur
  • The weekly reach growth for has been driven by the rapid growth of responsive platforms and mobile apps
  • Nigeria is the biggest driver of mobile traffic, with visitors to mobile sites increasing by over 250%