BBC reaches record global audience of 468.2m people every week

BBC News is now reaching 438.4m people outside the UK every week, up 11% from 394m last year.

The corporation revealed it has reached its highest ever global audience of 468.2m people a week, with BBC News making up 94% of that total.

BBC News’ digital audience has grown by 53% to 151m users, according to the BBC’s annual Global Audience Measure for 2019/2020.

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The figures exclude the BBC’s public service reach inside the UK.

Director-general Tony Hall, who is leaving the BBC in September, said when he took on his job in 2013 he set a target of doubling its global audience to 500m by 2022.

He said today that the BBC is “more than on track” to reach that goal and that it now plans to reach a global audience of 1bn people within the next ten years.

Hall said the reputation and reach of the BBC outside the UK has “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’,” he said. “Success will mean drawing on all our considerable international assets, and that means unleashing the full global potential of the BBC.”

The BBC claimed that in late March, as Covid-19 spread around the world, BBC News recorded a reach of 310m people, the highest of any international media organisation.

The new figures showed the BBC World News channel recorded a weekly audience of 112m, up from 101m last year. Its audience in the Americas grew by 50%.

In a win for the BBC’s push for younger audiences, a third of the digital engagement for the BBC World Service language services now comes from 15 to 24-year-olds. Their total reach was up 13% to 292.1m.

Audiences for BBC World Service English were up by 8% to 97m.

Hall said the Government’s investment of £86m per year in the BBC World Service, granted four years ago, had led to its biggest expansion since the 1940s into 42 languages and meant it has been able to “step up the fight against fake news worldwide and support democracy on the front line”.

In a blog, Hall said: “The first years of this new decade will decide which competing vision of the future of news will triumph: the fake, or the fair and free.

“This is a race that the UK is well-placed to win. The BBC is its priceless asset; the pre-eminent provider to the world of facts you can trust. What we have achieved with our additional investment has proved how far we can extend the reach of Britain’s democratic influence and amplify our global voice. It has also shown how much further we can go.”

Top ten countries outside UK by BBC News audience: 

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

Picture: Reuters/Neil Hall 

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