Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Written evidence submitted by BBC World Service


    —    WS continues to lead in the international radio market across the region, outperforming international radio competitors in the majority of vernacular languages in which it broadcasts. The total measured weekly audience for South Asia is 41.1 million.

    —    There has been a notable increase in audiences in Sri Lanka and Nepal, which has been boosted by local FM partnerships.

    —    BBC reputation (on key attributes of trust, objectivity and relevance) remains strong against other international providers in most markets, though domestic broadcasters are usually ahead.

    —    BBC Hindi is gearing up to enter the FM market in the main cities in India, as soon as government restrictions on news broadcasts are lifted. The BBC already has a foot in the door, via commercially-run BBC Worldwide which has gone into partnership with a local FM operator in Delhi. However, shortwave will remain as the method of listening in rural areas.

    —    English listening continues to be niche in the region, but BBC World Service has gained some audience this year, up by 630,000.

    —    Use of BBC language websites is growing steadily, and in several cases such as Urdu, growth has been particularly impressive.

    —    The Urdu Service will shortly deliver news bulletins to mobile phone subscribers in Pakistan.

    —    Audiences to BBC World TV remain stable across the region, standing at nine million. According to an independent survey, BBC World reaches 35% of decision makers in India.

    —    The BBC World Service Trust project, Diaologue on Bangladesh, delivered the BBC's biggest-ever season of programmes in Bangladesh—a series of radio and television "Question Time" debates that attracted audiences of over five million, and provided a platform for ordinary people to challenge the government in a way never previously experienced.

    —    BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm, has been very successful in tapping the lucrative entertainment market in India.


  The BBC faces strong competition and challenges in South Asia.

  TV has become the dominant news source in India, and there are restrictive laws on the radio markets. Commercial non-state radio is a relative newcomer in India. Since they were sanctioned in 2000, music-based FM stations have proliferated in the cities and hundreds more licences are up for grabs. But only state-run All India Radio can broadcast news.

  In Pakistan, the expansion of private radio and television stations brought to an end more than five decades of the state's virtual monopoly of broadcasting.

  Licences for more than 20 private satellite TV stations have been awarded, signalling increased competition for the state-run Pakistan Television Corporation. But there are no private, terrestrial TV stations.

  By 2005 around 100 licences had been issued for private FM radio stations. Pakistan's media regulator has estimated that the country can support more than 800 private radio stations, although they are not allowed to broadcast news. There are regular reports of private FM stations operating illegally, particularly in the tribal areas of North-West Frontier Province. Some of the stations have been accused of fanning sectarian tensions.

  In Bangladesh, the main broadcasters—Radio Bangladesh and Bangladesh Television—are state-owned and favourable to the government. Bangladesh Television is the sole terrestrial TV channel, although private satellite stations have established a presence.

  The constitution guarantees press freedom, but journalists are subject to regular harassment from the police and political activists.

  In Sri Lanka, many of the main broadcasters are state-owned, including two major TV stations, and radio networks operated by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

  There are more than a dozen private radio stations, and eight privately-run TV stations. Sri Lanka's privately-owned press and broadcasters often engage in political debate, and criticise government policies.

  In 2002, against the background of the peace process, the government allowed Tamil Tiger rebels to begin FM broadcasts of their Voice of Tigers radio station in the north. The station had previously operated on a clandestine basis.

  As violence escalated in 2006, the media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders said "murders, arrests, threats and bombings" had become "the daily lot" for many reporters.

  The internet is a growing medium for news in Sri Lanka; many papers have online editions.

  In Nepal, the government operates national radio and TV services. In May 2006 Nepal's new multi-party government eased some of the edicts that had stifled press freedom during the state of emergency invoked by King Gyanendra in February 2005. The Maoist rebellion in Nepal, and the efforts to suppress it, have had a profound impact on the media. Rights groups say attacks on media workers have been perpetrated by both sides in the conflict.

  The increased media choice available to consumers in South Asia means the BBC faces tough competition. The growth of satellite/cable TV, particularly in India and Pakistan, has significantly reduced radio usage. However, deregulation and the spread of FMs may help to boost radio as a medium.


  The BBC's South Asia Bureau is based in Delhi covering the region from Bangladesh to Iran. There are three news correspondents based there.

  Additionally, the BBC has a news correspondent in each of the following countries: Pakistan (in Islamabad), Sri Lanka (Colombo), Nepal (Kathmandu) and Bangladesh (Dhaka).

  Apart from these newsgathering correspondents, BBC World Service employs a large network of reporters to serve the language services across the region. These reporters also serve the English newsgathering and news programmes.

  BBC World runs three offices in India—in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi (office shared with news correspondents), employing a total of 43 people with dedicated teams of sales, distribution, finance, research, marketing and PR professionals.


  In South Asia BBC World Service broadcasts in six languages; Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Sinhala and Nepali across a number of media platforms. English news and programmes are also broadcast to the region 24 hours a day.

    —    Hindi radio—There are four daily programmes, including two half-hour programmes in the morning. The hour long flagship programme is at 1400 GMT. The last programme goes out early evening for half-an-hour. These are only available on short wave.

    — is a 24x7 website offering news and information about India and the world in Hindi to its users. There are some interactive elements as well. has a partnership with one of India's largest Hindi portals, Webdunia.

    —    Urdu radio—The Urdu Service broadcast three programmes daily: a half-hour programme in the morning, an hour long programme in the evening, and a half-hour programme at night. They all go out on short wave and can also be heard on medium wave.

    — is one of World Service's top three most popular language sites. The online operation includes video streaming, interactivity and citizens' journalism. The website has huge impact as it plays a key role in setting the news agenda in the regional media. Newspapers and other websites routinely download and publish its stories and features.

    —    Mobile phone—The Urdu service has struck a deal with Mobilink, the largest mobile network in Pakistan, to deliver a two minute audio bulletin to their subscribers. The project is in its final stage and delivery is currently being tested in Pakistan. The service is expected to start very soon.

    —    Bengali radio—There are three daily programmes throughout the afternoon and evening, each of half an hour's duration. The programmes go out on short wave in rural areas in Bangladesh and India. They can be heard on FM only in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. BBC World Service is trying to rebroadcast on FM in five other cities which would have a very positive impact on audience figures.

    —    Bengali online—The BBC offers news and information in text and audio to users. The online market is a very niche market both in Bangladesh, and the target states in India, because of low penetration of the internet. However, there is a developed diaspora market.

    —    Sinhala radio—The Sinhala Service broadcast a half-hour programme daily—at 1545 GMT. It goes out on short wave and is rebroadcast on FM in most parts of the country through the state broadcaster, Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation.

    —    Sinhala online—The online operation offers a basic text and audio service.

    —    Tamil radio—The Tamil Service broadcast a half-hour programme daily—at 1530 GMT. It goes out on short wave in Sri Lanka and India and is rebroadcast on FM in most parts of Sri Lanka through the state broadcaster, Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation.

    —    Tamil online—The website, offering text and audio generally built around the radio output, is updated once a day and is quite popular.

    —    Nepali radio—There is a half-hour programme daily at 1500 GMT. It goes out on short wave and is rebroadcast on 14 stations with various partners all over Nepal, including state-run Radio Nepal.

    —    Nepali online— offers text and audio in Nepali and is updated once a day.


  Short wave still delivers the bulk of the audience in the region and will remain important in the near future, largely in rural areas. However, it is in decline in many urban areas, so a presence on FM is the key to building and maintaining radio audiences.

  India—The delivery platform is still short wave, but as the FM market is gradually being deregulated, the BBC is trying to get a foothold here. The current government regulations impose restrictions on news on FM radio. However, there have been some encouraging signs lately, and foreign investment in the FM market has been allowed. Commercially-run BBC Worldwide has gone into partnership with a local FM operator in Delhi and BBC World Service is providing them content in the form of a short business, sport and entertainment bulletin. It is expected that the restrictions on news will be eased very soon and BBC World Service is gearing up to enter the market in a big way with various Indian languages and English as soon as this occurs.

  Pakistan—The platform delivery is mainly short and medium wave, although BBC Urdu is seeking to expand its availability with local FM partners. The Urdu Service started delivering news bulletins to a local partner station, but Pakistan's regulators imposed restrictions on the project, and the FM bulletins had to be closed down. Negotiations with the regulators continue, and BBC Urdu are expecting a decision on this in the next few days. However, in general the media is free in Pakistan apart from certain areas such as the North West Frontier Province, Waziristan and Baluchistan where there are severe news reporting restrictions on foreign media. Despite these restrictions, the BBC Urdu service reports on everything newsworthy from those areas through its reporters' network.

  Bangladesh—The delivery platform is mainly short wave in Bangladesh—the BBC is currently on FM only in the capital, Dhaka, although BBC World Service has tried repeatedly to extend this to five other cities. The media is generally free and open in this country, but at times political pressure can be visible on the media. Although there are no official reporting restrictions in Bangladesh, the media rights organisation Reporters Without Borders says journalists are targeted by Islamist and Maoist groups, as well as officials and politicians.

  Sri Lanka—Delivery platforms are short wave and FM. Working conditions are largely free, but attacks on journalists and media are not uncommon. As violence escalated in 2006, Reporters Without Borders noted that Tamil factional violence had had "bloody" consequences for some journalists. It is very difficult to report from the war-zone for this reason, and because of poor communication and travel restrictions. However, both the Sinhala and the Tamil services have developed their own stringers' network and report on the conflict through them.

  Nepal—Delivery is via short wave and FM. Working conditions for reporters have improved over the last few months after a period of upheaval. When the King of Nepal took over power after dismissing the elected Parliament in February 2005, many journalists were arrested and severe restrictions were imposed on the media. This affected all the private radio stations which were broadcasting BBC Nepali programmes on their frequencies (though some of these defied the Government and carried on regardless). BBC Nepali programmes on the state-run Radio Nepal were also interrupted. However, as a result there was a marked increase in the shortwave audience for the Nepali Service at that time. Since the King handed over power following a popular uprising, the media has been operating in a free environment. BBC Nepali transmission has returned to normal for the moment—however, problems may re-surface as the political situation in the country is fluid.


    —    BBC World is broadcast to around 17.24 million homes across South Asia. The channel's household distribution breakdown is as follows:

    —  Bangladesh—250,000;

    —  Bhutan—8,000;

    —  India—16 million;

    —  Maldives—7,000;

    —  Nepal—109,000;

    —  Pakistan—850,000; and

    —  Sri Lanka—13,000.

    —    BBC World is also available in around 52,500 hotel rooms across the region.

    —    South Asia is a key focus for BBC World and regional specific programming continues to be an important element of the channel's output.

    —    To build BBC World's regional business reporting, the channel recently appointed Karishma Vaswani as its first ever South Asia Business Correspondent.

    —    Karishma reports from Mumbai for the daily programmes Asia Business Report broadcast in Asia and the Middle East, and World Business Report, transmitted globally.

    —    India is the largest market in South Asia for BBC World. The channel conducted a business review in 2005 and made some changes to the commercial side of the business to ensure the channel can compete in this highly competitive marketplace.

    —    On 15 June, BBC World encrypted its digital broadcast TV signal on the PanAmSat10 satellite to South Asia. At the same time, BBC World changed its distribution strategy from a "free-to-air", to a subscription model, for various TV platform distributors.

    —    BBC World is a commercial channel and the transition from "free-to-air", to a subscription model, was a natural progression for BBC World in South Asia, and was in response to the dynamic and rapidly expanding cable TV and DTH satellite market across the region.

    —    As part of BBC World's global distribution strategy, the channel has provided Integrated Receiver Decoders to all the multi-system operators (MSO's) and cable operators in India to facilitate the move from free-to-air to subscription. It is important to clarify that it's the MSO's and cable operators that pay for the subscription, not the end consumer.

    —    BBC World will continue to be a pay channel in hotels across the region.


  The BBC Global News Division encompasses BBC World Service radio, BBC World television and BBC online, and its shared editorial mission is to report global news accurately and impartially.

  News programmes in all languages are built around the same core of global news, plus the main regional stories of the day.

  BBC World Service in English provides comprehensive coverage of events in South Asia, making use of its correspondents on the ground, a network of local reporters, and by linking in with the people who live there.

  In the aftermath of the South Asian earthquake in 2005, BBC World Service helped to bring the full impact of the disaster to the world's attention, using its reporters as well as first-hand accounts from ordinary listeners. Coverage on radio and online was maintained long after general media interest had waned, featuring reaction, discussion, analysis and images from devastated areas including many contributions from listeners and web users.

  Other notable programmes on the region have included:

  Have Your Say, the global phone-in programme, discussed the impact of India and China's economic growth in May 2006. It included a case study of an Indian farmer, and covered topics such as challenges ahead for both economies, impact on global trade, urban and rural disparities, the threat to energy supplies and the impact on the environment.

  In Heart and Soul, Life in a Madrassah broadcast in April, a BBC Urdu Service producer spent a week inside Karachi's biggest madrassah to investigate what happens in these religious schools and the alleged links with fundamentalism and whether they encourage young Muslims to go off on jihad.

  Making Cities Work, a four-part series broadcast in July, that looked at cutting edge solutions for transport and housing as well as ways of making cities cleaner and more liveable, chose Mumbai as one of its topics. It looked at attempts to "plan" its way out of traffic gridlock.

  The MTV Generation broadcast in July looked at the impact of the world's most ubiquitous music network in India as part of a two-part series. MTV India stood out as the only one of MTV's stations to play predominantly local music. Western pop videos and American presenters were replaced by Indian presenters, Hindi film clips, and dance numbers from hit films. It explored whether MTV reflected increased Americanisation in the country, or the growing aspirations of a changing India.

  More recently in October, Assignment investigated Nepal's Maoist Courts: across huge areas of Nepal, justice is administered not by the Nepalese government but by the People's Court, which is run by the Maoists. These courts deal with a variety of cases ranging from theft and assault to allegations of immorality. Access was gained to some of these courts and the programme reported on the kind of justice they dispense.

  From Our Own Correspondent—Bangladesh Running On Empty, broadcast in October reported on how the Bangladesh government is trying to find a solution to the country's electricity problems, so far, without success.

  Programmes from the language services include the following:

  The Hindi Service has recently secured the agreement of the Indian President, Professor Abdul Kalam, to take part in a multi-media interactive show, talking to Indian university students. The event is scheduled for November.

  For India's 60th anniversary of Independence, the Hindi Service produced a series of special packages from Delhi looking at how India has changed since independence. One of the highlights was audio diaries of people from the generation who had witnessed the independence. joined forces with its online partner Webdunia to conduct online journalism workshops for students in India. Teams held special sessions at universities and schools of journalism in Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, providing the students with an insight into how online works, and giving them hands-on training in how best to write for web audiences. At the end of the workshop, the students were assigned special subjects to write on, and the best three pieces were published on

  The BBC brought together Indian and Pakistani musicians and singing superstars, India's Shubha Mudgal and Pakistan's Abida Parveen, who took part in the landmark programme debating how much power art and music have to bridge the two nations—the relationship between culture and power, and the role of art in defying borders, prejudice and hostility. The BBC Hindi and BBC Urdu services staged a live linkup between Mumbai and Karachi with invited panellists and a studio audience which was broadcast on both language services. Audiences in India, Pakistan and around the world also had the opportunity to voice their views and follow the proceedings via webcasts on and

  The joint BBC Hindi and BBC Urdu event was part of the Who Runs Your World? season—the biggest ever single-themed tri-media season of programmes of the BBC's international news division exploring different aspects of global power. explored the sensitive issue of missing or disappeared people in Pakistan in a special debate in Islamabad. The discussion was webcast live on the website and also broadcast on radio. In preparation, BBC Urdu compiled the list of those known to have disappeared in recent years, which remains online and is regularly updated. The Information Minister of Pakistan, Mohd Ali Durrani, and former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Asad Durrani, took part in the special broadcast which explored every aspect of the disappeared, from legal to emotional.

  Urdu Online have also begun a blog by Mukhtar Mai—a Pakistani woman, who was a victim of gang rape and has become an internationally-known women's rights campaigner. Mukhtar Mai, who is in her mid-30s, lives in a remote village in southern Punjab and can't read and write herself. She narrates the blog once a week to her friend, who then faxes it to the Urdu service in London. The blog is getting worldwide attention and a large number of e-mails, mostly from men. She has stirred up a lively debate about traditional attitudes towards women, discussing some hidden issues, rarely talked about in Pakistan. The blog has famously become known as Mai Blog.

  The Bengali Service, working in conjunction with the World Service Trust, is running a series of radio and television "Question Time" debates ahead of the elections. The programmes, coming from nine major cities across the country, brought together political leaders from different parties to debate current issues, with an invited audience. The programmes went out on the Bengali service and on the satellite television, Channel I. The first debate included senior leaders from the three major parties sharing a platform, a rare event in Bangladesh. All debates were packed to capacity. There was wide coverage of the debates in the national press and feedback from listeners has been extremely encouraging.

  BBC Nepali broadcast a special programme with the leader of Nepal's Maoist rebels. In an hour-long programme from Kathmandu, Prachanda took listeners' questions asked via telephone, email and letters. There were also questions recorded from remote parts of Nepal which lack communication facilities. The press in Nepal reported widely on the programme. This followed the huge controversy last year, when the Nepali Service's partner station, Sagamartha, was shut down following an interview with Prachanda.


  South Asia is one of the most reported regions on the network as BBC World has two daily programmes—Asia Today and Asia Business Report. There are 40 editions of Asia Today each week, covering the issues behind the news and the people who make the news across Asia.

  In the last nine months alone, BBC World has commissioned two India-focused seasons Emerging Giants and India Week. Emerging Giants, broadcast in May, involved a team of reporters and correspondents interviewing and reporting from India for Asia Today, Asia Business Report, World Business Report plus news bulletins examining the rise of the country to global status.

  Furthermore, BBC World also commissioned two major series from India this year. Being Indian followed the lives of four children in India from widely differing backgrounds to find out what social change and mobility really means for the children of India today. Also, Call Centre was a seven-part series offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the growing Indian service industry.


  BBC World Service's total measured audience for South Asia is 41.4 million.

  English—The audience for World Service in English to this region stands at 3.6 million, up by 630,000 since 2004.

Hindi radio

  The current total weekly audience for Hindi radio is 17 million, of which 15.1 million are in India. The majority of Hindi listeners (over 80%) are based in the five Hindi belt states of India ie Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttaranchal. There is also a small but dedicated diaspora audience in the Gulf region. The core audience is more likely to be educated and male compared with the general population. A 2004 survey in the five states indicated 50% of the audience were between the ages of 15 and 35. As a majority of them live in rural or semi rural areas where there is limited penetration of other media, BBC Hindi is either their only, or at the least, the most reliable source of news and information from around the world. Hindi audiences in India have gone up by 600,000 since 2004. However, many young people are moving to urban areas for higher studies and they have access to other TV channels (and FM radio) and tend to compare BBC's coverage with them.

  As part of a BBC World Service drive to get closer to the audience, a BBC Hindi roadshow toured India in February this year. Aapki baat: Aap ke beech (Your views directly from you) toured the heartland of Bangalore, Kalinganagar, Muzaffarpur and Pune and the states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to India's budget announcement. Ordinary people were able to quiz a panel of experts on issues surrounding the budget and economic policies, and voice their views on what the economic transformation of India meant to them.

Hindi online

  The average monthly page impressions are currently around 9 million. Until recently, the majority of its users were based in the US (and some in European countries and the Gulf). Given a low internet user base in India, the has a low reach, but the gap between the diaspora and the Indian users of the Hindi online service has gradually been closing. Broadband internet service has just taken off in India and it is expected to expand very fast. That should have a positive impact on user figures from India. Again the profile of the Hindi user is pre-dominantly male, highly educated, professional and between the ages of 25 and 45.

Urdu radio

  The weekly Urdu radio audience is around 9.5 million, including about 8.2 million in Pakistan, and 900,000 in India. There is a sizable audience in Indian-administered Kashmir but because of the ongoing conflict there, that audience could not be measured. The audience is mostly rural and semi-rural, and has been declining steadily because of the introduction of satellite TV channels and FM radio stations. The Urdu service started delivering news bulletins to a local partner station in Pakistan but the government regulatory body imposed restrictions on the project and the FM bulletins had to close down. BBC World Service is in the middle of negotiations with the regulators and expects some developments soon. When the Urdu Service was broadcasting on FM, it picked up an additional million audience within the first six months. Despite the difficult market conditions, the BBC remains a very strong player in the Pakistan radio market and is second only to Radio Pakistan in terms of national reach. BBC Urdu broadcasts are regarded as a lifeline of information to many listeners in Pakistan who rate the programmes highly on trust and reliability. Newspapers and TV channels often pick up the service's stories and run them—giving the credit as "British radio".

Urdu online is currently one of World Service's top three language sites, and in August 2006 it achieved 18 million page impressions. Indeed, from mid-August to mid-September 2006 had the largest number of page impressions in the World Service. 29% of its audience is from Pakistan, the rest are from Europe, North America and the Gulf region. The website has huge impact as it plays a key role in setting the news agenda in the regional media. Newspapers and other websites routinely download and publish its stories and features.

Bengali radio

  The BBC Bengali service has a weekly audience of around 10.75 million in total, including 8.3 million in Bangladesh and 2.4 million in India. The last survey reported a drop in listening in Bangladesh. That was not unique to the BBC, but was common across many radio broadcasters. Despite this general fall in radio listening, BBC remained by far the strongest brand in Bangladesh—very highly regarded in terms of trust, relevance and objectivity and way ahead of its competitors. Again BBC Bengali is a lifeline for information to the bulk of the audience in Bangladesh. BBC listeners in Bangladesh are predominantly male (83%), almost half the listeners are under 35, more than 60% have secondary or higher education and the majority are based in rural areas, in line with the population.

  The Bengali audience in India is highest in the state of Assam, where according to the last survey the reach was 6.4%. The BBC is the number one international radio provider in two Eastern Indian states—Assam and West Bengal. Bengali audiences in India are up by nearly 1.3 million since 2004.

Bengali online

  The online market is a very niche market, both in Bangladesh and the target states in India, because of low penetration of the internet. However, there is a developed diaspora market, and there have been instances of high page impressions during elections and periods of political turmoil.

Sinhala radio

  There are more than 2.1 million listeners in Sri Lanka, which is around 16% of the adult population. Anecdotal evidence suggests that during crisis time these numbers go up dramatically. People from different social and economic groups listen to the BBC Sinhala service. It has a high impact in the country because of on-going conflicts there—it is able to deliver unbiased reporting and engage in debate on the Tamil ethnic issue, which is at the core of the conflict. The audience is quite opinionated, but still the BBC Sinhala service enjoys a huge reputation in terms of trust and objectivity. Cabinet ministers, opposition leaders, university professors, film directors, authors, housewives, peasants, workers, soldiers, and students often give feedback.

Sinhala online

  The online operation is fairly basic as the internet user base is small in Sri Lanka. The Sinhala service got more than half-a-million hits on their web page last month with many people coming to the site for audio. Many users are from the diaspora community in Europe and North America.

Tamil radio

  The Tamil Service has, as its primary target audience, the Tamil speaking parts of Sri Lanka and the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Although it is not possible to gain an accurate audience measure in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka where most Tamil listeners are based, indications are that listening is very high (thought to be as much as 7 in 10 but these figures cannot be validated as there has been no official census in the conflict-ridden north and east for the past 25 years). However, in the areas outside north and east of Sri Lanka, where the figures are available, the audiences for the Service have recorded growth and according to the recent survey it is estimated to be at 4.5% (up from 1.8% in 2001). The Tamil Nadu figures are unavailable as there has been no recent survey there. The audience is assumed to be cutting across social stratifications, gender and age.

Tamil online

  The website offers basic text and audio, but is nevertheless, quite popular. The traffic is predominantly from the diaspora Tamils from North America, Western Europe, India and Australia. The traffic frequency is news driven. In August, for instance, when the tensions escalated in Sri Lanka, the website attracted, for the first time, more than a million hits.

Nepali radio

  According to the BBC's first near-National survey in Nepal conducted between December 2005 and January 2006, the BBC Nepali Service's weekly audience figure stood at 20.6%, amounting to 3.2 million weekly listeners (followers just over 31%; Influencers: 41.6%). The impact of radio is phenomenal which is well reflected in the audience figure. Nepalis around the world have high confidence and trust in the material the service produces.

Nepali online receives over half-a-million page impressions a month. Online impact is relatively low as the internet penetration in Nepal is very low.

BBC World television

  Audiences for BBC World across the region stand at nine million.

  According to an independent survey carried out in 2004-05, BBC World reaches 35% of decision makers in India and it had seen increases of 57% since the last year surveyed among the "real" decision makers such as CEOs/MDs, and has the strongest affinity to them.

  BBC World's recent Global Indian Survey is the biggest research project undertaken by the channel to understand global India's mindset and behaviours. In its next phase the survey will partner with hotels to understand the globally minded individual from a global travellers point of view.


  The BBC World Service Trust is the international development charity of the BBC. It works with people in developing and transitional countries to improve the quality of their lives through the innovative use of the media.

  The Trust's work seeks to raise awareness among mass and opinion-former audiences; affect behaviour change; influence policy and transfer skills and knowledge. The Trust works to strengthen free and independent media through its Media Development Group and delivers educational programming and health campaigns through its Development Communications Group.


  HIV and AIDS—Jasoos Vijay (Detective Vijay), the Trust's long-running TV detective serial raising HIV and AIDS awareness, has made it into the top 10 of India's audience ratings. The serial, believed to be the most successful and widely-watched TV drama with a health message anywhere in the world, is attracting a weekly audience of almost 16 million viewers. The project is funded by DFID and more than 150 episodes of Jasoos Vijay have been broadcast since it went on air in 2002. Filmed entirely on location, it is made in Hindi and dubbed into seven other languages. It is broadcast at peak viewing time on Sunday evenings on India's most watched TV channel, Doordarshan National.

  The Trust is also delivering a TV advertising spot campaign on HIV and AIDS and is working with local NGOs to produce a weekly radio programme in Hindi, for areas with limited TV access. This DFID-funded project is targeting women listeners with broad messaging spanning HIV, health, empowerment and governance.

  The Trust is planning to launch a major mass media campaign to promote condom use in the Indian states with the highest prevalence of HIV, with support from the Gates Foundation.

  Developing Media Capacity to Cover Environmental Issues—This EU-funded project aims to mobilise the media and NGOs to raise public awareness of the key environmental challenges facing India and to push environmental issues higher up the news agenda. The integrated capacity-building programme combines hands-on training and mentoring for journalists and NGO staff and creates opportunities for dialogue between the media, NGOs and government and independent experts from India and the EU. Twelve working broadcast and print journalists are being trained from each of the nine states identified for the project. In delivering this initiative, the Trust is being partnered by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in Delhi and supported by the Television Trust for the Environment (UK) and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).


  In March 2006, the Trust started broadcasting a new daily radio serial entitled Piyar ka Passport (Passport to Love). It was broadcast on the BBC's Urdu service and FM stations in Pakistan, and also linked audiences in Pakistan with the diaspora community in the UK. The drama was part of a wider pilot project designed to raise awareness and stimulate dialogue around a range of social issues related to marriage and family life. Based on real-life experiences and written and produced by an all-Pakistani team, the drama was set in a fictional community in Northern Pakistan and used plotlines, discussion, phone-in programmes and debates to increase knowledge inside and outside Pakistan. The serial was supported by a website, featuring first person testimonies and articles tackling such themes as forced marriage, migration, drug addiction and its impact on the family.


  In Bangladesh, the Trust has embarked on the second phase of its Bangladesh Sanglap (Dialogue on Bangladesh) project, a series of live TV and radio debates using the Bengali Service and national cable channels. Ministers, social activists, editors of national newspapers and business leaders engage with the public in debates covering justice, corruption, education, health, trade and security. The first phase of the project attracted audiences of over five million people and 92% of those surveyed felt that the programmes had provided an opportunity for the voice of the people, particularly deprived people, to be raised. 78% said they helped to ensure transparency and accountability. The research suggests that people believed that they had been given a platform to challenge the government in ways never before experienced in Bangladesh.


  The BBC has a strong history of trading in India and sees the country as an important and exciting growth market. In other countries in the region activity is mainly limited to a small amount of TV sales.

    —    BBC Worldwide is about to launch two new TV channels in India, which will be available by satellite from October 2006, and then via additional cable network access by early 2007. The two channels are: CBeebies—an advertising-free, pre-school channel for children and parents to be broadcast in Hindi and English in order to help under-fives learn through play; and BBC Entertainment—a general entertainment channel comprising the best of British drama and comedy, broadcast in Hindi. This is the first TV channel deal for BBC Worldwide in India.

    —    As mentioned in the World Service Delivery Methods section earlier on, BBC Worldwide has successfully bid for FM radio licences in seven key metropolitan areas of India with its partner Mid Day Multimedia Ltd. These will go live early next year.

    —    Two years ago BBC Magazines set up a joint venture with Times of India to create Worldwide Media—one of India's largest publishing companies—with a portfolio of over 30 popular titles. An Indian version of BBC Top Gear was launched by the company earlier this year

    —    BBC Worldwide has a healthy television sales business, with Discovery Networks India as a key customer. Key genres are history, science and natural history. A recent package licensed to Discovery India included Life In The Undergrowth, Manhunters, Deep Ocean, Genghis Khan, Hannibal and Krakatoa.

    —    In the past BBC Worldwide has had some very successful content and production format sales in India including Yes Minister and Keeping Up Appearances. In September Strictly Come Dancing joined this list. Called "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Dancing With the Stars", the Indian version of Strictly Come Dancing is on Sony Entertainment Television, and airs every Wednesday and Thursday at 2200.

    —     In the home entertainment market, books, videos and audiobooks relating to BBC programmes are licensed to a range of Indian publishers. A recent deal saw a range of children's DVDs in Hindi and English being released by Saregama.


  The increased media choice available to consumers means the BBC faces tough competition. The growth of satellite/cable TV, particularly in India and Pakistan, has significantly reduced radio usage.

    —    Short wave still delivers the bulk of the audience in the region and will remain important in the near future, particularly in rural areas. However, it is in decline in many urban areas.

    —    Deregulation and the spread of FMs may help to boost radio as a medium. A presence on FM is the key to building and maintaining radio audiences, especially in the cities.

    —    India: Radio audiences in English, Hindi and Bengali are up year-on-year. The global news strategy is to keep short wave in the Hindi belt and work for FMs in main cities, working with BBC Worldwide. The BBC is now looking at TV in Hindi, as this is the dominant news source.

    —    As part of the global distribution strategy for BBC World television, the channel was successful in its transition to a subscription model in India, and will continue to pursue this.

    —    Pakistan: The radio audience is down, whilst online is growing significantly. FM was allowed by the government, but then taken away. The BBC will continue to push for a license to distribute and syndicate BBC FM products, including news. In the long term, the strategy is to assess the potential and feasibility of TV, as short wave audiences in general are declining since the introduction of satellite TV channels.

    —    Bangladesh: The radio audience is down, although the BBC brand is still strong. The Bengali Service, in conjunction with the World Service Trust, has produced high impact TV programmes ahead of elections. The strategy here is to push for five new BBC FM relays, one of which would reach Kolkata in India.

    —    Nepal and Sri Lanka: World Service language audiences in both markets have been boosted by successful FM partnerships. BBC World Service will continue to pursue this strategy for the foreseeable future.

BBC World Service

October 2006

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