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BBC record high reach

June 18, 2019

More people around the world are tuning into the BBC than ever before, reaching a new high of 426 million a week – an increase of 50 million (13 per cent) over the year, according to new figures released by the Corporation.

The Global Audience Measure (GAM) shows BBC News has an audience of 394 million globally, a rise of 47 million. The BBC World Service in English, and 42 languages, account for 319m of that figure – with an increase of 41 million.

BBC World Service in English and the BBC World News TV channel have both achieved all-time record audiences of 97 million and 101 million respectively. BBC World Service’s 42 language services have climbed to 259 million. BBC Global News, the commercial subsidiary of BBC News which operates the BBC World News channel and, makes up most of the remainder and has seen increases across TV and digital of 6 million, to 121 million – another record high. Overall, BBC News has seen increases of 23 million for TV (to 214 million), 12 million for audio (to 178 million) and 18 million for online (to 95 million).

BBC Director-General Tony Hall says: “Every day our teams do an amazing job bringing independent, impartial news to audiences around the world, and today we can see just how much the BBC is valued. Thanks to Government investment we’ve been able to launch the biggest expansion of the World Service since the Second World War, and this shows how much the BBC can do for the UK.”

Jamie Angus, Director of the BBC World Service Group, says: “The BBC is on track to reach its audience target of 500m weekly, as has posted all-time record audiences for both World Service Radio and BBC World News. But most importantly we’re continuing to produce ground-breaking journalism that is attracting growing audiences, and making huge impact. From investigative journalism like Africa Eye to our work countering fake news and disinformation, the BBC is showing why it remains the world’s most trusted source of news.”

Three countries – India, Kenya and the USA – have seen the most impressive gains since 2018.

India, where BBC News now operates in nine languages, has seen a rise of 20 million to 50 million to become the top overseas market for BBC News. The USA becomes the third largest market overall with 38 million, up 5 million. The audience in Kenya has increased from 6 million to 15 million in the last year reaching 50 per cent of the population. In Afghanistan, the BBC reaches 59 per cent of the population. BBC News websites (World Service and have increased their combined reach by 6 million to 51 million globally, bucking wider trends for news sites.

The top 10 countries by BBC News audience are:

  • India 50m
  • Nigeria 41m
  • USA 38m
  • Kenya 15m
  • Afghanistan 12m
  • Bangladesh 12m
  • Egypt 11m
  • Iran 11m
  • Tanzania 10m
  • Pakistan 9m

Syndication of BBC content via partner television and radio stations around the world, and distribution via digital platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, now add up to over 60 per cent of audience reach.

Audio continues to be a major platform for the World Service, rising by 12.9 million to 173 million listeners worldwide. On all platforms, 30 per cent of the audience is aged between 15-24 years.

Over the past two years new BBC News bureaux were opened in India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Korea, and 12 new language services were launched as part the largest expansion of the BBC World Service since the 1940s, funded by the UK government. The expansion has taken place against a background of rapid growth of rival international news services from Russia, China and the Middle East.

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