BBC Global News, the BBC’s commercial, international news subsidiary which operates the 24 hour news channel BBC World News and its digital counterpart BBC.com, has reported record figures in its 2018/19 annual report.
The company posted an EBITDA profit of £8 million (€8.9m).
BBC World News’ global footprint continued to expand, growing by 2 per cent over the year. The channel is now available to a record 465 million households, up from 458 million the previous year. The growth was driven by gains in the Americas and South Asia.
BBC.com also increased its reach, from 88 million monthly browsers in 2017/18, to 93.5 million, up 6 per cent year on year.
Separate figures published last month revealed that combined global audiences across TV and digital had risen by 6 million to a record 121 million on a weekly basis.
Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News, said: “Far from being outdated or irrelevant, our long-standing commitment to trust and credibility is more highly valued by our audiences and clients around the world than ever before. In a landscape where single issue, agenda-driven or simply fake news is becoming increasingly commonplace, it’s vital to ensure that there is a quality alternative which is truly impartial, accurate and independent.”
BBC Global News said its strong performance is a result of the successful transfer of BBC Advertising from BBC Worldwide, which created a fully integrated business offering a client-focused commercial proposition, along with investment in business development opportunities such as BBC Reel and BBC Music (in North America) – new content propositions which drove both audiences and sales.
2018/19 saw a significant increase in off-platform consumption, with BBC.com content now reaching over 22 million users per month on platforms such as Apple News, MSN and Facebook Instant Articles.
Meanwhile, BBC Studios, the BBC’s wholly-owned commercial subsidiary formed by the 2018 merger of BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios, also announced its 2018/2019 financial results, showing a record year of returns to the BBC, principally in the form of programme investment and dividends of £243 million (2017/18: £210 million).
In the first full financial year for the merged business, EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) were up 51 per cent at £159 million (2017/18: £105 million) on headline sales of £1,373 million (2017/18: £1,411 million). The business made nearly 2,000 hours of programming for the UK audience, secured 15 new commissions for third parties around the world.
Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Studios said: “It has been an excellent year for BBC Studios, both creatively and financially. Two separate subsidiaries have combined swiftly and efficiently to create a new British studio operating on the world stage, able to take ideas seamlessly through funding, creation, distribution and commercialisation. An extremely strong programme slate has seen high quality and award-winning British content like Dynasties, Les Misérables, Famalam and the Festival of Remembrance play out across UK screens and internationally. Our financial performance, with record returns to both the BBC and to indie partners, underpins this creative success.
“The markets in which BBC Studios operates remain changeable, but we know there is strong demand for premium, inspiring content – with forthcoming shows like Seven Worlds, One Planet and The Left Behind setting the standard within the industry. Our business is firmly focused on investing in talent, rights and ideas, growing our partnerships around the world, evolving our culture, creativity, diversity and innovation, and ensuring we are well positioned to meet this demand and boost our ongoing contributions to the BBC and the wider creative industry, he added.