Written evidence from BBC World Service
PART 1: THE
Summary of key events and developments
BBC World Service continued to implement changes
necessary to retain its reputation for the future
in the face of profound economic, social and technological change.
2010 saw a dramatic drop in global short wave listening
trendsBBC World Service lost 20 million short wave listeners,
but this was counteracted by the addition of nine million new
viewers to its television, online and mobile services, in addition
to new listeners to BBC radio programmes through local FM and
medium wave radio partner stations in a number of countries. The
overall weekly multimedia audience is 180 million across television,
radio, online and mobiles.
The estimated BBC Arabic television audience was
up 3.5 million to 12 million, making it the BBC's largest language
service with an audience of 22 million across all platforms. BBC
Persian has an estimated 3.1 million viewers in Iran.
The figures show the success of our multimedia strategy
and investments for global audiences. But the continued dramatic
decline in short wave listening shows that those audiences are
rapidly changing the way they access international news. Unless
BBC World Service can accelerate its response to those changes,
it will face a rapid deterioration of its impact as other technologies
become more prominent in international media markets.
It was a year of major news events such as the earthquake
in Haiti, the floods in Pakistan, the Moscow Metro attacks, and
more recently, the ordeal of the Chilean miners. BBC World Service
delivered outstanding journalism, bringing a wider perspective
to audiences in closer collaboration with other parts of BBC Global
BBC World Service also played a role in raising editorial
standardswe are only beginning to appreciate the full impact
of our journalism on local media and even on the course of events.
Examples of this include Kenya, where newspapers trusted BBC Swahili
to verify reports of witness intimidation, and Nigeria, where
President Umaru Yar'Adua's gave an exclusive interview to BBC
Hausa shortly before his death, because it symbolised credibilitythe
interview played a central role in the country's constitutional
debate. BBC World Service aims to be a standard-setter in the
new platforms and the new spaces, just as it has been over the
years in radio.
Independent research continues to indicate that BBC
World Service's reputation for providing unbiased and objective
news and information is stronger than that of any other international
radio competitor in most markets surveyed.
BBC World Service launched 18 new mobile sites in
2009-10, attracting four million monthly page impressions by February
2010. This figure has increased by 150% in just seven months,
to 10 million as of September 2010.
Online performance was up 39%, to 7.3 million weekly
BBC Global Newswhich includes BBC World Service,
BBC World News television and the BBC's international news online
serviceshad a record global weekly audience of more than
241 million during 2009-10.
BBC World Service faced distribution problems in
a number of countries including Pakistan, India, Azerbaijan, Somalia
and Sudan, as well as continuing problems in China and Russia.
BBC World Service programming excellence was recognised
at the annual Sony Awards in 2010 where it secured six awards,
two of them GoldsLyse Doucet for News Journalist of the
Year, and Newshour for Best Current Affairs Programme.
Other awards received throughout the year included Hotbird TV
News Channel of the Year Award for BBC Persian, two Peabody Awards,
a CBA Award for Best Human Rights Programme for Assignment:
Africa's Guantanamo and the Speaker Abbot Award for Bravery
which went to Mohammed Olad Hassan, a reporter based in Mogadishu.
In polling commissioned by Chatham House (British
Attitudes towards the UK's International Priorities, Chatham House/YouGov,
July 2010), when asked "which of these do you think do most
to serve Britain's interests around the world?" "BBC
radio and TV world services" came out on top with both the
general public (jointly with the armed forces) and UK opinion
formers when compared to the FCO, DFID, armed forces, culture,
and the intelligence services.
And from a detailed study by BBC World Service into
its international audiences' perceptions, (Human Capital, research
in Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey and Kenya, commissioned by the BBC
in 2009) 80% of audience members in four key countries said it
makes them think more positively of the UKmore than say
the same of Premier League football, UK aid, the UK Government,
popular British culture and the armed forces. 71% believed
that it enhances the UK's reputation for democracy and fairness.
Meanwhile a Globescan poll commissioned by the BBC
(based on 265 interviews with international business influencers
in the US, India, Turkey, Nigeria and UAE in 2010) found that
89% of those who consume BBC News would speak positively about
Britain as a place to do business. It revealed that business leaders
who use the BBC are more positive about Britain as a place to
do business, when compared to those who do not use the BBC.
BBC World Service's Global Audience Estimate reported
in March 2010 an overall weekly multimedia audience of 180 million
across television, radio, online and mobiles. Whilst the World
Service's position as the leading international broadcaster with
the highest audience has been maintained, this is eight million
down on last year's record.
Audience figures reflect global shifts in media consumption
as short wave declines and new media platforms continue to expand
rapidly. The internet is now used by 1.5 billion, set to rise
by 50% in the next five years and with over 4.5 billion mobile
phone users worldwide; mobile services are becoming the primary
means of access to online news and information for many. TV has
established itself over 20 years as the main platform for news
consumption in many parts of the world.
In lifeline markets, BBC World Service continues
to perform well on short wave (in Burma, the BBC now reaches 8.5
million listeners weekly, up 1.4 million on the last survey).
However, BBC World Service lost 20 million short wave radio listeners
during the year, as part of the increasing global decline in short
wave listening. Losses were particularly significant in Bangladesh
(-7.0m), India (-8.2m), and Nigeria (-2.9m).
There were radio audience gains in Tanzania (+1.4m),
and the US (+0.6m), mainly through BBC programmes being used on
local FM and medium wave radio partner stations. And there were
nine million new viewers to BBC World Service's television, online
and mobile services. Visitors to BBC World Service online increased
by 39%, and there was a 72% increase in the estimated audience
of non-English television. BBC Arabic now reaches 22 million people
a week across all platforms, including 12 million on television.
Those figures demonstrate the need for BBC World
Service to be able to accelerate its response to global trends,
as audiences rapidly change the way they access international
news. In Turkey for example, a strategically important market
to the BBC and to the UK, digital partnerships established in
2009-10 increased weekly unique users from 37,000 in October 2009
to a young, vibrant Turkish audience of over 260,000 in October
2010. On TV, daily news and current affairs programme World
Agenda broadcast on partner channel, NTV, targets an influential
audience and reaches 1.7 million weekly viewers.
The BBC has continued to develop its mobile presence
in important markets. For example in Pakistan, where mobile users
have increased from one million to 100 million in a decade, BBC
World Service will shortly be launching dial-up, on-demand audio
news and sports bulletins available to subscribers who will be
able to dial a short code for the latest BBC news in Urdu. This
will also be launching very shortly in Bangladesh and India. The
BBC now has mobile sites in 18 languages, notably in African languages
where mobile is also growing rapidly as a source of news and information.
Performance against targets: The
overall reach of radio, television and online was below the target
of 192 million at 180 million. This was mainly due to the larger
than anticipated decline in short wave and medium wave audiences.
The figure does not include all areasit was not possible
to survey Pakistan because of the political situation, data from
Iraq was delayed due to problems with fieldwork and the results
from a survey in Sudan could not be used because the sample did
not adequately represent the population.
The agreed targets for impact of the BBC's online
offer were once again exceeded in all areas: the number of weekly
users rose to 7.3 million (target was 6 million), the number of
monthly video views rose to 27 million (target was 20 million)
and the number of BBC WAP site page impressions rose to 4 million
(target was 2 million).
BBC World Service's reputation as the best known
and most respected international broadcaster remains strongin
surveys it scores higher than its nearest competitor in the majority
of indicators, so the multimedia strategy of transition to FM,
television, online and mobile continues to be successful.
The Azeri authorities have maintained the ban from
January 2009 on all international radio broadcasters from transmitting
on FM. The BBC continues to work with the FCO to secure a resolution.
BBCChinese.com (the news content site) and Chinese
broadcasts on short wave continue to be jammed effectively by
the Chinese authorities. It has been virtually impossible for
the BBC to provide news to a Chinese audience on these platforms
for some time. However, new technologies have enabled the BBC
to reach Chinese audiences via other means. The BBC news app launched
in April 2010 by the BBC and Apple now has 20,000 iPhone and iPad
subscribers within China who can access news stories from BBCChinese.com.
And in response to requests from BBC Chinese users, a simple to
use circumvention service was launched in September 2010 in order
to get around the blocking of the website. This is still very
much at an experimental stage, but uptake has been very active
so far and users have been sending appreciative feedback.
BBCUKChina.com (the non-news site) continues to be
successful with more than twenty partners taking up our content
in English learning, studying in the UK, British life and culture
and the Premier League. In September 2010, BBC Chinese launched
a partnership with China's third biggest portal site, sohu.com,
with content and information on English Learning and studying
in the UK, plus a joint project with provincial radio stations
promoting UK culture, particularly lifestyle and music.
The BBC has faced difficulties with regulatory authorities
for its mobile news provision in India. Regulators have directed
that all foreign broadcasters should stop news bulletins that
are available upon dialling a local number across all mobile operators
in the country. This has obstructed the launch of new mobile services
in India by the BBC.
Following the election, BBC Persian TV's satellite
signal was subjected to deliberate and illegal interference from
within Iran. The BBC is pleased to report that jamming ceased
in May 2010. Since the aftermath of the 2009 election, the channel
has continued to have a powerful role and impact for Iranian society.
This was ably demonstrated when it emerged that BBC Persian TV
is watched at cabinet meetings. Speaking in an interview in May
2010 after denying having watched any Persian language satellite
channels, Iran's Vice-President then nuanced his response with
"I have watched BBC Persian's programmes once or twice at
cabinet meetings, but I do not have time for that
A recent highlight was an interview with Barack Obama
responding to Ahmadinejad's UN General Assembly speech. A White
House spokesman cited BBC Persian's "substantial viewership
and a website that is one of the most
trafficked websites in the region" making it "an effective
platform to reach the Iranian audience". The interview had
a massive impact on public discourse with over one million Google
mentions in Persian and 54,000 Persian blog mentions, with editorial
leadership shown as CNN, Sky News and CBS led with the interview.
The BBC has faced difficulties in recent years with
the local regulator, PEMRA, in maintaining FM news broadcasts
in Pakistan. A service broadcast on two networks, launched in
June 2007, was disrupted and the BBC was taken off air by the
regulatory authorities; the BBC subsequently challenged this in
the Pakistani courts, and the situation was further complicated
when the state of emergency was declared. FM news broadcasts were
back on air in May 2009 with 34 stations delivering BBC Urdu bulletins.
However, March 2010 saw more difficulties with PEMRA which resulted
in stations being allowed to carry a maximum of three ten minute
bulletins daily, now provided by the BBC to 37 stations.
BBC World Service has continued to face a number
of challenges around its availability as a radio service. BBC
Russian is available online, on short wave and on medium wave
frequencies in Moscow, St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg but audiences
are falling (we estimate that only around 0.5% of the Russian
population listens to these services). Despite extensive efforts,
BBC Russian continues not to be available on FM.
In response, BBC World Service has continued successfully
to increase its audience via online platforms. Digital partnerships
established with MSN Russian, GZT and Newstube in 2009/2010 have
driven traffic to the BBC Russian website and contributed to a
substantial increase in weekly unique users online from circa
337,000 in October 2009 to approximately 540,000 in September
BBC World Service has faced considerable difficulties
from al-Shabaab's activities. In April 2010, al-Shabaab confiscated
BBC transmission equipment at all relay sites in southern Somalia
and ordered all local FM stations to stop broadcasting BBC programmes,
leading to a reliance on short wave. Al-Shabaab said it was taking
this decision after observing "the impact of the BBC news
which is far from reality and it exaggerates the views of the
West which is geared to confuse the Muslims".
The BBC has been able to re-establish its FM presence
through launching a new FM relay in Galkaacyo and though our Somali
partner in Kenya, Star FM, having launched a repeater station
in Mogadishu at the beginning of August 2010. In addition BBC
World Service has signed a deal with Radio Shabelle, the most
listened-to radio station in Mogadishu which now broadcasts all
BBC Somali programmes.
The BBC has faced difficulties in the North following
the successful establishment of an FM relay in Southern Sudan
with a mixed schedule of BBC Arabic and World Service English
in July 2010. In August, the authorities in Northern Sudan shut
down four relaysterminating the BBC's presence in the North
on FM. The BBC is working with the FCO on this, and hopes for
a resolution soon.
FM broadcasts in Dubai have ended this year due to
unacceptably higher license costs relative to priorities. BBC
World Service continues to broadcast in Abu Dhabi.
Haiti's EarthquakeJanuary 2010
BBC World Service launched a lifeline service within
four days of the earthquake, initially in French, Spanish and
English, then in Creole, to provide information about the rescue
and reconstruction efforts as a key source of information to Haitians,
including rescue and aid teams on the ground. It relayed updates,
such as the location of a temporary hospital, water supplies and
food drops. It also relied on interaction with the audience on
a daily basis via emails and text messages.
Koneksyon Ayiti (Connexion
Haiti) was available on satellite, online and via social media,
as well as being transmitted on FM through Radio France. The earthquake
had a major impact on traditional forms of communication, meaning
that new and emerging media filled a crucial gap, breaking news
direct from devastated areas. Much information available came
via Skype and Twitter, and BBC World Service used the same tools
to inform people about its lifeline programming.
The Superpower season focused on the power
of the web to change the world and pushed the boundaries of experimental
content with a range of collaborative content and programmes.
SuperPower Nation Day was a remarkable multilingual, multi-platform
experiment using Google translate technology. Arabic, Chinese,
English, Indonesian, Persian, Portuguese and Spanish audiences
communicated directly through a unique website that converted
messages instantaneously into the other languages. With over twelve
thousand messages in six hours, people from all over the world
were brought together in a global conversation.
Metro attacks in MoscowMarch 2010
When the attacks on the Moscow Metro happened in
March 2010, killing at least 40 people, a coordinated response
by all parts of BBC Global News gave an edge to the coverage.
The BBC Russian service reacted rapidly and provided comprehensive
coverage of the incident and its aftermath with the latest news,
analysis and context by its journalists on location, as well as
tightly integrating UGC and social media into the output. Online
traffic to BBCRussian.com surged five-fold on the day of the attacks,
with 393,000 unique users accessing the site and content on partner
websites for its analysis and insight.
The UK's General ElectionApril/May 2010
The challenge for BBC Global News was presenting
that election in a way that encouraged dialogue and engaged with
our audiences, explaining the processes and events taking place
in the UK. The language services met this challenge with a creativity
and dynamism. This was partly achieved through comparative analysis,
for example BBC Hindi ran a video link between London and Delhi
with a British MP of Indian origin, and senior Indian politicians
on the similarities and differences between the two countries
elections, whilst BBC Chinese organised an online forum for a
question and answer of the UK's ethnic Chinese candidates. The
diasporas also formed a key link with BBC Urdu going to Bradford
to look at immigration and multiculturalism, and the influence
of clan politics, whilst BBC Bangla produced a video special from
Bethnal Green and Bow, where the main candidates were all of Bangladeshi
The UK election was BBC Global News' most read story
for many days online, with over 85% in our Global Minds survey
agreeing that BBC Global News coverage improved their understanding
of the key issues of the UK general election and 60% of respondents
agreeing they wanted to find out more about UK politics and parties
as a result of the coverage.
Fifa World CupJune/July 2010
Securing the rights for the coverage was a fantastic
opportunity to explore Africa and connect with audiences there.
Ten Global News language services took part in the launch
of our second Google translate experimentWorld
Cup Team Talkwhile a special
daily multimedia show, World Cup Have Your Say, allowed
fans to exchange views via phone calls, emails, texts and tweets.
Coverage during the tournament was creative and exploratory with
a range of analytical features such as Africa Kicksa
journey that explored West Africa's "football factory"the
region in West Africa that produces the highest number of international
players, looking at the political, economic and football hopes,
dreams and challenges of this region in a series of multimedia
reports. This followed extensive coverage earlier in the year
of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Pakistan FloodsJuly 2010
As the worst floods in the region's history submerged
one-fifth of the country, BBC Urdu collaborated with the BBC World
Service Trust to start broadcasts three times a day to provide
vital information to flood victims. In many instances, officials
came to know about the gravity of the situation in particular
areas from our broadcasts. These Lifeline Pakistan broadcasts
proved so popular that when we planned to end them after one month,
several government officials, ministers and aid agencies requested
us to continue them as a result of which we are still on air.
Chilean MinersOctober 2010
The Chilean miners' rescue was a recent demonstration
of how local audiences turn to the World Service as a point of
reference whilst powerful events unfoldBBC Mundo's audiences
on radio and mobile nearly doubled, with editorial leadership
demonstrated by use of content in the main Spanish speaking media
including the main newspaper in Chile using BBC Mundo's live text
of the rescue.
Operating performance 2009-10
BBC World Service continued its work in delivering
cost savings in order to meet its targets and cover rising costs.
The organisation delivered over £6 million of operating savings
in the last financial year, and consequently £6 million of
restructuring charges were incurred, partly due to the restructuring
of the senior management team which will deliver benefits commencing
in 2010-11. These savings also helped the World Service to cope
with the impact of the economic downturn.
The weaker pound increased costs both for international
offices and on several international support contracts. However,
the cost increase was partly mitigated by lower inflation in the
UK which enabled savings to be made on staff costs and on contracts
linked to RPI in the UK.
Capital expenditure was spread across a range of
projects, the largest being the project to move BBC World Service
to the W1 development in central London as part of the BBC's new
journalism centre. The move is planned for 2012 and the substantial
capital commitment involved will continue to dominate capital
expenditure up to that date.
The project to re-engineer the transmitter station
and power facilities on Ascension Island is making good progress
and will secure transmissions to West Africa over the years ahead.
Independent Auditors, KPMG, reported to the BBC Executive
Board that BBC World Service financial statements for the financial
year ended on 31 March 2010 gave a true and fair view of its affairs.
Reduction in baseline figure
Under the 2007 CSR settlement with the Government,
funding for 2009-10 was set at £272 (£241 million operating
and £31 million capital). The baseline figure was subsequently
reduced by £3.3 million as a result of the 2009 Budget, and
reduced again by a further £7.6 million as a result of savings
announced by the new Government earlier this year (although this
was partly mitigated by provision of £5.2 million one-off
funding for the current year). This means that the BBC World Service
baseline has been cut by £10.9 million since the original
settlement agreed in 2007, prior to the HMG's CSR announcement
on 20 October this year. The 2009 cuts led to the cancellation
and deferment of some projects, but this did not have a material
adverse impact on existing operations.
For the current financial year 2010-11, funding has
been reduced to £266 million (£235 million operating
and £31 million capital). The World Service is managing this
reduction through the acceleration of savings plans and the deferral
of projects. This has included a number of changes to the English
schedule, announced in September 2010, which will result in the
ending of regular drama output, and a reduction in music and sport
Unprecedented pressure on public spending, uncertainty
over pension costs and exchange rates continue to make for a challenging
environment, and will require careful planning over the coming
months, throughout which delivering value to audiences and value
for money to UK taxpayers will be at the forefront. Details of
the CSR 2010 settlement and possible repercussions are set out
below in Part 2.
PART 2: CSR 2010
Funding for BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring
was set out as part of the Government's Comprehensive Spending
Review (2011-12 to 2014-15) announcement on 20 October.
In addition, the Government announced that BBC World
Service and BBC Monitoring would be financed from the UK Television
Licence Fee, rather than directly by Government, from 2014-15
for BBC World Service, and from 2013-14 for BBC Monitoring. Until
very recently, the BBC was working on the basis that the CSR settlement
would affect funding for BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring
only, but it is now clear that this is a fundamental change for
the BBC as a whole.
As part of the agreement the Licence Fee period was
extended to the end of the Royal Charter in six years timeDecember
2016. This agreement gives the BBC financial and political stabilitywith
no further debate about the future of the Licence Fee in that
BBC World Service funding settlement and its implications
BBC World Service has received formal notification
from the Foreign Office confirming an overall 16% real
terms reduction in funding over the four years of the settlement.
Although this settlement compares well to similar publicly-funded
organisations, the World Service faces other financial pressures
such as the extra costs of the BBC's pension deficit, so the impact
will be greater, and there will be some difficult choices ahead.
The World Service Board will now spend time looking
carefully at the detail of the World Service funding settlement.
Existing plans will need to be revised, including those for investments
in new services for Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the necessary
approvals to make changes will need to be obtained. However, the
intention is to make an announcement about World Service savings
for the next financial year by the end of November 2010.
The figures are as follows:
|2010-11 (current period)
|CSR 2011-12 to 2014-15
|2014-15 (transfer to Licence Fee)
Over and above the 16% real terms cut, BBC World Service has to
deal with a number of other exceptional cost pressures. The biggest
of these by far is the cost of employer contributions to the BBC
pension deficit. While the recently announced changes to the BBC
pension scheme will reduce the size of the deficit and the cost
of ongoing contributions significantly, the World Service's share
of the anticipated rise in pension costs is still expected to
be somewhere in the range of £11 million to £18 million
per annum (possibly £15 million).
During financial year 2011-12, largely as a result of the extra
pension contribution, our current model suggests that BBC World
Service must deliver savings of approximately £24 million.
The following year we expect to need to find £13 million
savings, the year after £12 million, and in the last year
£18 milliongiving a total of approximately £67
million savings over the four yearsalthough this figure
may be lower, or higher, when the outcome of the pension valuation
and other cost pressures are clarified. This means that
we expect to need to save more than 25% of current costs.
Every part of the World Service will make a significant contribution,
but it is not possible to save this amount of money just by "salami
slicing". An exercise involving staff in shaping strategy
called World Service Choices took place last year, and
BBC World Service will be drawing on some of these ideas in its
Some of the proposals under consideration include: cutting further
programmes from the English schedule, reducing short wave distribution
significantly and cutting the radio output of some services where
audiences are too low to justify continued production at current
levels. It is possible that we will also need to close some language
services, although it is not possible at the time of writing to
say how many services will close or which ones they will be. These
changes need to be approved by the BBC Trust and language service
closures specifically need approval from the Foreign Secretary.
However, this alone will not be enough to allow BBC World Service
to reach its savings target of £67m. Further steps towards
multimedia and multilingual journalism will need to be taken,
emphasising the vital importance of collaboration, and the need
to consider all audiences all of the time. We will reinforce our
networks of journalisminside the BBC and outside with our
partners. Huge steps have already been taken towards further integration
within Global News and as part of the BBC's journalism community.
The move in 2012 to W1the BBC's multimedia news centre
at Broadcasting Housewill help maximise the impact and
cost-effectiveness of our news operation. By tapping into joint
resources, we can exploit that opportunity, organising ourselves
efficiently and flexibly. There will be opportunities to invent
new ways of working that will deliver enormous efficiencies as
well as creative benefits.
A recent example of the benefits of the greater levels of collaboration
we have been encouraging was when in September, President Obama
chose to give an interview to BBC Persian because of its impact.
Persian TV could not have done it without close collaboration
with BBC Newsgathering. BBC World Service was, in turn, able to
share an exclusive interview with the rest of the BBC, for UK
and international audiences alike. This kind of editorial collaboration
and reliance on shared content production to serve our audiences
helps deliver efficiency.
Training and development programmes will focus on equipping members
of new multimedia, multilingual teams to work in new ways. Further
details of these new joint units will be announced later in November.
BBC World Service's key advantage for its audiences is its uniquely
global perspective. We will work to improve on how we deliver
thatwith the stories our audiences most want in the key
genresbusiness, health, sport, technology and more.
BBC Monitoring funding settlement
BBC Monitoring's funding will decrease by 6.5% in cash
terms for each of the two years before BBCM transfers into the
Licence Fee in 2013-14a total cut of 18% in real terms.
This means that the contribution from the Cabinet Office will
fall from £23.2 million this year to £20.2 million in
2012-13. However, BBCM faces additional employers' pension costs
(as does the wider organisation)to fund its share of the
deficitof around £2.5 million to £4 million a
year. So, in the worse case scenario, BBCM would need to make
cuts of nearly £7 million a year.
Given the scale of this, the potential impact on BBCM's capabilities
and the costs of restructuring, BBCM's Executive Direction Team,
will be working through the implications with BBCM's government
stakeholders and other organisations, including the BBC.
This presents some extremely tough challenges, but we will be
working hard to reach a conclusion recognising the role BBCM has,
both as part of the BBC's journalism family, and as a valued provider
of open source information to governments and other organisations
around the world.
Licence Fee funding
The BBC-wide settlement with the Government gives the whole organisation
clarity and stability in its funding for the next six years. This
financial stability is hugely important, especially having clarity
for six years.
In addition, the move away from direct government funding will
reinforce further BBC World Service's reputation for independence.
While the BBC has always had editorial control of the World Service,
there is now an increased clarity about the World Service's independence
from Government agendas. Overseas audiences will know that the
services provided are funded directly by the British public, fully
independent of commercial or political agendas.
The BBC Trust Chairman has said that "the new arrangements
will ensure that the World Service remains a vibrant, independent
service that brings impartial news to people around the world,
while strengthening the BBC's ability to bring international news
to UK Licence Fee payers".
The BBC and the Foreign Office will continue to work together
to ensure appropriate governance arrangements are in place once
the transfer to Licence Fee funding has taken place.
The following commitments concerning BBC World Service form the
basis of the Government's new Agreement with the BBC Trust:
- The Government will continue to fund World Service at CSR-agreed
levels for 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14. The BBC will be allowed
to fund any World Service restructuring costs, at its discretion,
during this period. The World Service will become part of the
licence fee funded BBC from 2014-15.
- The BBC Trust sets the overall strategic direction of the
BBC including the World Service.
- The BBC is independent in all matters concerning the content
of World Service output, the times and manner in which this is
supplied and in the management of its affairs. The BBC's Editorial
Guidelines, Values and Standards are set by the BBC Trust and
apply to the BBC World Service.
- The BBC will continue as now to set the objectives, priorities
and targets for the BBC World Service with the Foreign Secretary
and to obtain the written approval of the Foreign Secretary for
the opening or closure of any language service.
- After extracting an efficiency dividend, the BBC will commit
to providing sufficient investment in World Service to support
its current plans for the period.
BBC World Service will be strengthened by its ability to draw
on the full resources of the BBC, one of the world's leading news
operations, without being constrained by the barriers that have
been required by separate funding sources. The BBC has committed
to providing sufficient investment in the World Service to support
its current plans, while also ensuring that efficiencies from
the new funding model are fully extracted. The principle that
the BBC is independent in all matters concerning the output of
the World Service and the management of its affairs is enshrined
in the agreement with Government.
The BBC's fifth public purpose is "to bring the UK to the
world and the world to the UK" and the provision of impartial,
independent news of high quality is at the heart of this global
mission. Through this the BBC can strengthen the UK's global reputation,
enhance the UK's relevance in the world's most rapidly developing
markets and bring unbiased information where it is needed most.
BBC World Service already operates as an integral part of the
BBC's worldwide newsgathering and production operation. While
the BBC has not always funded the World Service, it has always
been obliged to offer global news.
Licence Fee payers can already access and benefit from a number
of the services provided by World Service in the UK. For example
the English radio service is available on DAB, digital, satellite
and cable TV and online and all the foreign language websites
are available in the UK, which also provide access to all language
radio programmes live, with many on demand. Through these means
Licence Fee payers are able to access a deeper range of international
The identity and heritage of BBC World Service and its commitment
to international audiences will remain intact, but its passion
for its audiences, its programmes and its valueswill play
on the widest possible stagefor the UK and for the whole
27 October 2010