The corporation’s global audience estimate is based on reach of the BBC World News channel, its international news website, World Service radio output and its international development charity BBC Media Action.
The BBC said that increases in television and digital audiences are offsetting a decline in radio listening – mainly on shortwave and medium wave.
Though radio remained the biggest platform with 128 million listeners overall, this was down 17 million on a year earlier. TV audiences came in at 126 million viewers, while online attracted 46 million weekly users.
The biggest growth for a single market was Russia, where the audience more than doubled to 6.9 million per week, which the BBC attributed to its “trustworthy and impartial news.” The BBC said its Ukrainian service also reflects the same trend with its audience more than trebling compared to last year.
“Today’s figures show the most successful year ever for the BBC’s global news services,” said Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service Group.
“The BBC plays a vital role in troubled times. We know that people around the world turn to the BBC when other impartial information is in short supply, and this is borne out by the sharp increase in audiences in Russia and Ukraine.
“Investment in TV bulletins and responsive mobile services for the World Service is bearing fruit. Radio will be a World Service mainstay for years to come, but as these figures testify, the way people access news is changing and we must continue to innovate if we are to flourish in the years ahead.”
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