BBC global audience rises to 372m

The BBC is reaching a record weekly audience of 372 million around the world, a rise of 7 per cent year on year, new audience figures reveal.

These figures – the Global Audience Measure (GAM) – show how many individuals the BBC reached weekly with its news and entertainment content in the year 2016/17.

The data shows the BBC’s weekly global news audience has risen by 8 per cent to 346 million, with TV, audio and social media driving the increase.

The BBC World Service has seen an increase of 9 per cent since last year, taking its total audience to 269 million.

Global News Ltd, which comprises BBC World News television and BBC.com, now has an audience of 121 million, an increase of 12 per ent, with weekly BBC World News TV viewers rising to 99m.

World Service English has seen another significant rise, with an audience of 75 million around the world, a 14 per cent increase. This has been driven both by syndication and by the growth of digital audio, including internet audio and podcasts. The number of listeners accessing World Service English through internet audio has shot up by 147 per cent to 21 million.

The GAM figures show the BBC is on track to achieve the target set by the Director-General of a 500 million weekly audience by 2022, the BBC’s centenary year.

Francesca Unsworth, Director of the BBC World Service Group, commented: “In a turbulent year for international news, with mounting concern about fake news and social media ‘filter bubbles’, more people than ever before are turning to the BBC for reliable, impartial information they can trust. We will shortly launch the first new language services in the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s. Today’s audience figures show the need for the BBC is greater than ever.”

Tim Davie, Director of Global and CEO of BBC Worldwide, added: “It is encouraging to see that BBC branded services continue to be the trusted go-to platforms for audiences across the globe.”

  • Facebook is by far the biggest source of the BBC’s social media reach globally, but there are regional variations – in Iran alone BBC reaches 1.4 million people on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, from a total BBC audience of 12.6 million in that country.
  • The top ten markets for the BBC’s international news services are Nigeria (36m), USA (34m), India (28m), Bangladesh (16m), Egypt (15m), Pakistan (13m), Iran (13m), Tanzania (10m), Indonesia (7.6m), and Canada (7.5m), where the BBC significantly boosted its presence last year.
  • BBC radio saw a 12 per cent uplift in audience figures in the USA during an eventful election year – taking weekly reach to 14.6 million people

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