Some 254m a week access BBC news output outside the UK

The BBC estimates that the audience for its global news output has increased by 7 per cent year on year to 256m.

This is the combined weekly reach of the BBC World Service, BBC World News and the global-facing website BBC.com/news.

The only domestic viewers/listeners included in that total are the 2m who access the World Service in the UK, meaning the total non-UK based audience of the BBC's news output is estimated at 254m.

The reach of the BBC's internationally-facing websites is said to have increased by 8million to 38m people a week.

World Service TV audiences for Persian and Arabic are said to have grown to 41.5m viewers, compared to 28.7m last year.

BBC director of global news Peter Horrocks said: “This is a milestone for the BBC, with more than a quarter of a billion people tuning in to radio, TV and digital services every week. Today’s figures shows there is a growing worldwide audience for impartial, trustworthy journalism. This is an enormous achievement and cements our position as one of Britain’s most successful and influential global brands.

"The BBC World Service is emerging from a difficult period of funding cuts and the closure of services. Today’s record audience figures come despite this, thanks to the quality of our journalism and the decisions we have made to invest in new offers, such as TV programmes in a number of our languages. The international media market is more competitive than ever and we’ve had to innovate across the whole of our global news services to keep ourselves relevant to our audiences.

"I am also particularly proud that the BBC’s Persian service has thrived during the last year despite censorship, deliberate jamming of satellites and the continued harassment of BBC journalists and their families.”

The total World Service audience is said to have grown by 11.8m to 192m a week.

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