BBC’s global audience rises to 372m

The BBC is reaching a record weekly audience of 372m around the world, a rise of 7% year on year, new audience figures reveal today. 

These figures – the Global Audience Measure (GAM) – show how many individuals the BBC reached weekly with its news and entertainment content in the year 2016/17.

The data shows the BBC’s weekly global news audience has risen by 8% to 346m, with TV, audio and social media driving the increase. 

Weekly audiences in India have gone up by 25% across the BBC’s international news services, giving a total audience of 28m, and making India the third biggest market for BBC News internationally.

The BBC World Service has seen an increase of 9% since last year, taking its total audience to 269m.

Global News Ltd, which comprises BBC World News television and, now has an audience of 121m, an increase of 12%, with weekly BBC World News TV viewers rising to 99m. 

World Service English has seen another significant rise, with an audience of 75m around the world, a 14% increase. This has been driven both by syndication and by the growth of digital audio, including internet audio and podcasts. The number of listeners accessing World Service English through internet audio has shot up by 147% to 21m.

The GAM figures show the BBC is on track to achieve the target set by the Director-General of a 500m weekly audience by 2022, the BBC’s centenary year. 

Francesca Unsworth, Director of the BBC World Service Group, said:

“In a turbulent year for international news, with mounting concern about fake news and social media ‘filter bubbles’, more people than ever before are turning to the BBC for reliable, impartial information they can trust.

“We will shortly launch the first new language services in the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s. Today’s audience figures show the need for the BBC is greater than ever.”

Tim Davie, Director of Global and CEO of BBC Worldwide, said:

“It is encouraging to see that BBC branded services continue to be the trusted go-to platforms for audiences across the globe.”

  • Facebook is by far the biggest source of the BBC’s social media reach globally, but there are regional variations – in Iran alone BBC reaches 1.4m people on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, from a total BBC audience of 12.6m in that country.
  • The top ten markets for the BBC’s international news services are Nigeria (36m), USA (34m), India (28m), Bangladesh (16m), Egypt (15m), Pakistan (13m), Iran (13m), Tanzania (10m), Indonesia (7.6m), and Canada (7.5m), where the BBC significantly boosted its presence last year.
  • BBC radio saw a 12% uplift in audience figures in the USA during an eventful election year - taking weekly reach to 14.6m people

Notes to Editors

The Global Audience Measure (GAM) reports the combined weekly people reach of the BBC’s international news services – BBC World Service, BBC World News, and BBC Media Action. It also includes the majority of BBC Worldwide’s BBC-branded direct-to-consumer services, where measurable and obtainable. It excludes audience for BBC programmes made or sold by BBC Worldwide to third party broadcasters and other platforms.

The GAM combines survey, digital analytics, and ratings data which is then ‘de-duplicated’ – that is, adjusted downwards to avoid double counting people using multiple devices (eg both tablet and smartphone) and to avoid double counting people who consume more than one of the BBC’s services (eg both BBC World News TV and BBC World Service radio). Over 1.5m data points are included in the calculation.

Social media is measured on ‘engaged reach’ – that is, we only include people whom we know have engaged with our content on social media by (for example) liking, clicking, sharing, commenting etc, rather than everyone who has had an opportunity to see the content on their social media feed.

The surveys that go into the GAM have a standard error margin of +/- 3%.


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