BBC reaches all time record global audience

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The BBC’s global reach increased by 11 per cent year on year in 2020 to 468.2 million people a week – the highest number ever.

BBC News accounts for 438.4 million of the total with an annual increase of 13 per cent. Digital platforms are key to the success, with an increase of 53 per cent in BBC News users. A total of 151 million users now access BBC News digitally according the annual Global Audience Measure which measures how many individuals the BBC reached weekly with its news and entertainment content in the year 2019/20.

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said: “We are without question one of Britain’s strongest and best-known brands, synonymous with quality and accuracy worldwide. Our international news services rank first for trust and reliability and the World Service remains a beacon of democratic values. Independent research shows that there is an exceptionally high correlation between places where people are aware of the BBC and places where people think positively about the UK. More than that, the BBC helps UK trade. This has perhaps never been more important. The UK will forge a new relationship with the world in the decade ahead, built on an ambitious vision of ‘Global Britain’. Success will mean drawing on all our considerable international assets, and that means unleashing the full global potential of the BBC.”


In late March 2020, as the Covid-19 virus spread and trusted sources of information were in demand, BBC News recorded the highest reach of any international media organisation in the world with 310 million people accessing coverage across 42 languages.

BBC global content is increasingly popular on global platforms like Youtube with a 129 per cent increase in audiences to 47 million a week – overtaking Facebook with a 31 per cent increase to 43 million. Twitter reach has doubled to 6 million and Instagram also reaches 6 million weekly.

Other highlights of the 2020 Global Audience Measure:

  • BBC World News channel made significant gains to reach 112 million – with growth in the Americas at 50 per cent.
  • BBC World Service languages up 13 per cent to 292.1 million with a big uptick in digital engagement among audiences aged 15-24 who now make up a third of the total. BBC News Hindi is now the second most popular service with 25 million – behind Arabic with 42 million (+67 per cent). BBC Chinese saw an increase of 141 per cent, Russian is up 32 per cent and BBC Mundo 40 per cent. Other big percentage increases include Serbian (+327 per cent), Yoruba (+166 per cent) and Afaan Oromoo (+143 per cent).
  • BBC Studios increased reach by 5.8 million to 49.1 million up 13 per cent.
  • BBC World Service English audiences up by 8 per cent to 97 million. The Global News Podcast remains the BBC’s most popular with audiences approaching 1m a week. Italy contributed 1.4 million new listeners on DAB radio.
  • BBC Media Action – the BBC’s international charity that helps to strengthen governance, improve people’s health and humanitarian response – saw an increase in audience of 4 million to 18 million.

New content funded by the UK government’s World 2020 initiative attracted new audiences, with Sport Africa – including extensive Premier League coverage; Africa Eye with groundbreaking investigative journalism; and What’s New for young African audiences performing particularly well.

The top 10 countries by BBC News audience are:

India

60,400,000

United States

49,500,000

Nigeria

37,200,000

Kenya

14,600,000

Tanzania

14,000,000

Bangladesh

11,900,000

Afghanistan

11,400,000

Iran

11,300,000

Canada

9,700,000

Pakistan

9,700,000

The Global Audience Measure is an annual update of how many people are consuming the BBC weekly for all services in all countries across all platforms (television, radio, website and social media). Key to this is de-duplication i.e. ensuring that a person who consumes multiple BBC services or platforms or on multiple devices is not counted many times in the top level totals, which means those totals are often not the sums of their constituent parts.


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