BBC News accounts for 438.4 million of the total with an annual increase of 13 percent. Digital platforms are key to success, with an increase of 53 percent in BBC News users. A total of 151 million users now access BBC News digitally according to the annual Global Audience Measure (GAM) which measures how many individuals the BBC reached weekly with its news and entertainment content in the year 2019/20.
The Director-General of the BBC, Tony Hall, said: “We are without question one of Britain’s strongest and best-known brands, synonymous with quality and accuracy worldwide. Our international news services rank first for trust and reliability and the World Service remains a beacon of democratic values. Independent research shows that there is an exceptionally high correlation between places where people are aware of the BBC and places where people think positively about the UK. More than that, the BBC helps UK trade. This has perhaps 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’. Success will mean drawing on all our considerable international assets, and that means unleashing the full global potential of the BBC.”
In late March 2020, as the COVID-19 virus spread and trusted sources of information were in demand, BBC News recorded the highest reach of any international media organisation in the world with 310m people accessing coverage across 42 languages.
BBC global content is increasingly popular on global platforms like YouTube with a 129 percent increase in audiences to 47 million a week – overtaking Facebook with a 31 percent increase to 43 million. Twitter reach has doubled to 6 million and Instagram also reaches 6 million weekly.
Other highlights of the 2020 Global Audience Measure:
- BBC World News channel made significant gains to reach 112m – with growth in the Americas at 50 percent.
- BBC World Service Languages up 13% to 292.1m with a big uptick in digital engagement among audiences aged 15-24 who now make up a third of the total. BBC News Hindi is now the second most popular service with 25m – behind Arabic with 42m (+67%). BBC Chinese saw an increase of 141%, Russian is up 32% and BBC Mundo 40%. Other big percentage increases include Serbian (+327%), Yoruba (+166%) and Afaan Oromo (+143%).
- BBC Studios increased reach by 5.8m to 49.1m up 13%.
- BBC World Service English audiences up by 8% to 97m. The Global News Podcast remains the BBC’s most popular with audiences approaching 1m a week. Italy contributed 1.4m new listeners on DAB radio.
- BBC Media Action – the BBC’s international charity that helps to strengthen governance, improve people’s health and humanitarian response – saw an increase in audience of 4m to 18m.
New content funded by the UK government’s ‘World 2020’ initiative attracted new audiences with Sport Africa – including extensive EPL coverage, Africa Eye with ground-breaking investigative journalism, and What’s New for young African audiences performing particularly well.