BBC's global audience estimate rises to 265 million

BBC's Global Audience Estimate Year
265 million 2014
256 million

2013

239 million 2012
225 million 2011
241 million 2010
238 million 2009
234 million 2008
234 million 2007

The BBC says the audience for its international services has risen to a new high, with 265 million people around the world accessing its output each week.

The corporation's estimates show the numbers using its various global news services – including the World Service and BBC World News – have risen by 3.5 per cent in the past year, with big jumps in Russia and Ukraine as people have apparently turned to "trusted" sources.

However, the overall nine million rise does include an audience of 3.8 million in Yemen which had not previously been included in the BBC's Global Audience Estimate.

As this table (right) shows, the Global Audience Estimate has risen from 234 million in 2007.

Radio has seen a major decline in numbers with 17 million fewer listeners than the previous 12-month period, although it continued to be the biggest platform overall with 128 million tuning in.

Rises in digital and television use have offset that figure to give an overall audience rise.

Russia has shown the biggest growth with the audience more than doubling to 6.9 million weekly, while the BBC's Ukrainian Service audience more than trebled to in excess of 600,000.

The audience for TV services stands at TV viewers at 126 million and digital access stands at 46 million – a third of these through mobile devices – with many people clearly using more than one of the services.

Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service Group, said: "Today's figures show the most successful year ever for the BBC's global news services.

"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."

Last month a report commissioned by the corporation by Sir Howard Stringer recommended that the BBC should look to the success of Buzzfeed as it attempts to double its global audience to 500 million in the next eight years.

As well as suggesting the BBC should consider native advertising and an expansion into North Korea, the report recommends that the corporation should take a digital-first approach in all countries other than the UK.

Stringer said the BBC is “punching well below its weight in the digital world”, noting that its peak online audience figures outside the UK stand at 150m monthly unique users in March 2014, “a big news month”.

While he noted that this is more than CNN and around the same as the Mail Online’s exclusively English-language traffic for a month, he pointed out that Buzzfeed’s peak stands at 160m.

“Given Buzzfeed, for example, was only founded in 2006, this raises the question of why the BBC’s global digital reach is not more significant,” he said.

Here is the BBC's YouTube summary of the Global Audience Estimate:

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