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BBC World Service expands audience but loses radio listeners

BBC World Service logoThe Daily Telegraph reports on an exclusive look at the BBC World Service’s annual audience numbers, and they’re looking quite good for the British international broadcaster. Worldwide the service reaches 192 million people a week across all media types, up 11.8 million from last year.

The World Service’s Persian and Arabic TV services have over 40 million viewers combined, which contribute to the overall increase.

This success comes despite cuts in the BBC’s budget from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

On the radio side, the Beeb cut shortwave and medium wave (AM) broadcasts in English, and eliminated shortwave broadcasts in Arabic. This likely contributed to an overall loss of 300,000 listeners to radio services.

The BBC Trust manages the service’s funding from license fees paid by the British pubic. The Trust just released a draft paper confirming that the World Service will have a budget of £245 million for 2014–14.

However, it also recommended that the service should pursue other funding, including commercial funding, “where appropriate and within regulatory requirements.” Such funding could come from licensing programming to other broadcasters, such as how many US public broadcasters carry the World Service.

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