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BBC global audiences reach new highs; but ditch shortwave


The BBC is reaching a record weekly audience of 376m people, according to new figures release today. But shortwave listening is in freefall.

The figures - the Global Audience Measure (GAM) - show how many adults the BBC reached weekly with its news and entertainment content in the year 2017/18.

The BBC World Service, which has just undertaken its biggest expansion since the 1940s, has seen its audience increase by 10m, to 279m. The BBC's total global news audience, which includes television and online outlets has risen by a million, to 347m.

More people listen directly to World Service English via the internet than by any other method - a total of 27m. And World Service English podcasts now reach one million people every week. However, shortwave radio listening continues its steep decline, with shortwave audiences virtually disappearing in Pakistan, and down substantially in Nigeria, which will provide further incentive for the BBC to continue to wind down shortwave transmissions around the world, as more users make use of smartphone technology to access BBC services, where for example, iPlayer Radio is available globally.

More than a quarter of the BBC World Service’s audience is aged between 15-24 years old. In Afghanistan, more than 60% of the adult population consumes BBC News; in Nigeria the figure is just under 40%

Overall, online news website audiences have grown by four million, with social media audiences up by nine million. The English language international website, BBC.com has added two million weekly users this year.

Jamie Angus, Director of the BBC World Service Group, says: 
“This has been an exciting year for the BBC World Service, with the launch of 12 new services, new programming, and the opening of new and expanded bureaux across the world, so it is great to see international audiences continuing to turn to the BBC for independent and impartial news. 
The figures highlight not only the successes of our global news operation, but the challenges that lie ahead for us. We still need to grow the share of women engaging with our news services globally, and we need to ensure we have the right services to continue to attract young audiences.


The top ten markets for the BBC’s international news services are :
  1. Nigeria (41m), 
  2. USA (33m), 
  3. India (30m), 
  4. Bangladesh (16m), 
  5. Egypt (16m), 
  6. Iran (13m), 
  7. Afghanistan (12m), 
  8. Tanzania (10m), 
  9. Pakistan (9m) 
  10. Indonesia (8m).
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