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BBC Trust outlines plans for BBC World Service following funding change

  • UK audiences could gain easier access to World Service TV and radio content

The BBC Trust has published details on how it plans to govern the World Service from next April, when the organisation comes under licence fee funding. For the 2014/15 financial year, the service will have a budget of £245 million.

Until now, the BBC World Service, which includes the international English language radio station, plus specialist language radio, television and online services, was funded through the Foreign Office.

In its oversight of the World Service, the BBC Trust has stated that it will take a similar approach to the one it uses for the existing BBC public services, publishing a detailed 'Operating Licence' setting out the remit and scope of the service, its annual budget and its main commitments.

Under the proposals, the Trust is looking at all BBC World Service audio and television output possibly being made available online to UK audiences, both live and on-demand*. BBC World Service’s English output should continue to be made available in the UK as a digital service, and on existing FM platforms overnight. (*BBC English language TV, such as BBC World News and BBC Entertainment are not included under the BBC World Service umbrella, and continue to be commercially funded for consumption outside of the UK.)

Other language services are also available to UK audiences online. In time, according to the Trust, the BBC wants to 'do more' to make these services more easily accessible. No further detail was provided as to what that would mean in practice.

The BBC Trust has published its first draft operating licence today, with a consultation on the detail of this licence running from today until 30th September 2013. The Trust confirmed that it will regularly review the performance of the World Service against its licence, just as it does with the other BBC services.

See also:
Analysis: How can the BBC World Service make programmes more accessible to UK viewers and listeners? >


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