BBC’s global audience rises to 376m

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The BBC is reaching a record weekly audience of 376 million people, new figures published today reveal. The GAM (Global Audience Measure) shows how many adults the BBC reached weekly with its news and entertainment content in the year 2017/18.

The BBC World Service, which has just undertaken its biggest expansion since the 1940s, has seen its audience increase by 10 million, to 279 million. The total global news audience has risen by a million, to 347 million.

The GAM shows the way people access their news is continuing to change around the world. With the increased availability of cheap smartphones around the world, audiences are continuing to switch to digital platforms for news. Overall, online news website audiences have grown by four million, with social media audiences up by nine million.

The English language international website, BBC.com, continues to perform well even in competitive markets like the US, adding two million weekly users this year.

More people listen directly to World Service English via the Web than by any other method – a total of 27 million. And World Service English podcasts now reach one million people every week. However, shortwave radio listening continues its steep decline, with shortwave audiences virtually disappearing in Pakistan, and down substantially in Nigeria.

Jamie Angus, Director of the BBC World Service Group, said: “This has been an exciting year for the BBC World Service, with the launch of 12 new services, new programming, and the opening of new and expanded bureaux across the world, so it is great to see international audiences continuing to turn to the BBC for independent and impartial news. The figures highlight not only the successes of our global news operation, but the challenges that lie ahead for us. We still need to grow the share of women engaging with our news services globally, and we need to ensure we have the right services to continue to attract young audiences.”

“At a time when Britain is forging a new relationship with nations around the world, the BBC’s global news services are more important than ever,” Angus concluded.

The figures also show:

  • More than a quarter of the BBC World Service’s audience is aged between 15-24 years old.
  • In Afghanistan, more than 60 per cent of the adult population consumes BBC News; in Nigeria the figure is just under 40 per cent
  • The top ten markets for the BBC’s international news services are Nigeria (41m), USA (33m), India (30m), Bangladesh (16m), Egypt (16m), Iran (13m), Afghanistan (12m), Tanzania (10m), Pakistan (9m) and Indonesia (8m).
  • More people are consuming more than one BBC service, or using more than one platform to access BBC News; 24 million people consume the World Service in English as well as other languages.

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