The Implications of Cuts to the BBC World Service - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

Further written evidence from the BBC World Service

Service Expected Audience ImpactContent & Production Savings* Proposed post closures
Portuguese for Africafull closure 1,498,00055111
Caribbeanfull closure 660,0003655
Albanianfull closure 510,00094823
Macedonianfull closure 160,00042410
Serbianfull closure 550,0001,03421
Turkishradio closure 450,0002225
Ukrainianradio closure 910,00058817
Russianradio closure 1,241,0001,55845
Chineseradio closure 595,0004138
Spanishradio closure 9,00085920
Vietnameseradio closure 110,0002005
Azeriradio closure150,000 3678
Persian R&Oreduction in output 025022
Uzbekreduction in output 01258
Hindi/Indiareduction in output 10,927,00068030
Urdureduction in output 05
Indonesianreduction in output 1,700,00066412
Central Asian Managementreduction in output 1373
Arabicreduction in output 1,50060
Other savingsreduction in output 271
Total19,470,000 11,156317
Language services (above)£m 19.511.2
WS English£m 4.0
Technology£m 1.9
Distribution£m 10.55.6
Studio operations£m 2.3
Support£m 4.4
Rights£m 0.5
Total savings£m 30.029.9

*Distribution, overhead and support savings not included

Audience impact shown above covers the editorial changes and platform closures only. The balance
of the expected 30 million audience reduction announced in January results from distribution changes
covering Swahili, Nepali, English (to W Europe and Russia) and Arabic.

Supplementary written evidence from the BBC world Service

Top countriesLanguages PlatformsTotal pre-CSR WS audience Total estimated remaining WS audience Total pre-CSR BBC audience including World News and Total estimated remaining BBC audience Region
NIGERIAHausa, English AM, FM (non-news), online, mobile, TV Arabic, TV WN 21,800,000 21,800,000 24,100,000 24,100,000 AfME
TANZANIASwahili, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 13,100,000 11,700,000 13,600,000 12,200,000 AfME
INDIAHindi, English FM (non-news), online, mobile, TV WN, AM closing 2012 11,500,000 1,573,00013,800,000 3,873,000AsiaPac
AFGHANISTANPastho, Dari, Uzbek, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN, TV Persian 9,800,000 9,800,000 10,000,000 10,000,000 AsiaPac
PAKISTANUrdu, Hindi, Pashto, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 9,300,000 9,300,000 10,800,000 10,800,000 AsiaPac
DR CONGOFrench, Swahili, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 8,900,000 8,900,000 8,900,000 8,900,000 AfME
BURMABurmese, English AM, online, TV WN 8,400,000 8,400,000 8,500,000 8,500,000 AsiaPac
BANGLADESHBengali, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 7,500,000 7,500,000 10,100,000 10,100,000 AsiaPac
USAEnglish FM, online, mobile, TV WN 7,300,000 7,300,000 35,300,000 35,300,000 AmEu
KENYASwahili, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 5,600,000 3,900,000 6,000,000 4,300,000 AfME
NEPALNepalese, English AM, FM, online, TV WN 5,400,000 5,400,000 6,100,000 6,100,000 AsiaPac
INDONESIAIndonesian, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 5,200,000 3,500,000 5,500,000 3,800,000AsiaPac
SUDANArabic, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV Arabic, TV WN 4,400,000 4,400,000 4,600,000 4,600,000 AfME
IRANPersian, English AM, online, TV Persian, TV WN 3,900,000 3,900,000 4,000,000 4,000,000 AsiaPac
IRAQArabic, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV Arabic, TV WN 3,800,000 3,800,000 4,500,000 4,500,000 AfME
EGYPTArabic, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV Arabic, TV WN 3,400,000 3,400,000 3,500,000 3,500,000 AfME
NIGERHausa, English AM, FM, online, TV WN 3,400,000 3,400,000 3,400,000 3,400,000 AfME
MOROCCOArabic, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV Arabic, TV WN 2,700,000 2,700,000 2,700,000 2,700,000 AfME
GHANAEnglish, Hausa AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 2,500,000 2,500,000 2,600,000 2,600,000 AfME
SAUDI ARABIAArabic, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV Arabic, TV WN 2,400,000 2,400,000 2,400,000 2,400,000 AfME
SYRIAArabic, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV Arabic, TV WN 2,200,000 2,200,000 2,300,000 2,300,000 AfME
RWANDAKinyarwanda/Kirundi, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 2,100,000 2,100,000 2,100,000 2,100,000 AfME
TURKEYTurkish, English online, mobile, TV Turkish, TV Arabic, TV WN 2,100,000 1,650,000 2,900,000 2,450,000 AmEu
UGANDAEnglish AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 2,100,000 1,970,000 2,300,000 2,170,000 AfME
GUINEAFrench, English AM, FM, online, TV WN 1,700,000 1,700,000 1,700,000 1,700,000 AfME
MALAWIEnglish AM, FM, online, TV WN 1,700,000 1,700,000 1,700,000 1,700,000 AfME
BRAZILPortuguese, English online, TV WN1,400,000 1,400,000 1,800,000 1,800,000 AmEu
BURUNDIKinyarwanda/Kirundi, English AM, FM, online, mobile, TV WN 1,400,000 1,400,000 1,400,000 1,400,000 AfME
CHINAMandarin, Cantonese, English online, mobile, TV WN 1,400,000 805,000 2,000,000 1,205,000 AsiaPac
MOZAMBIQUE   1,400,000 234,0001,400,000 255,000 AfME
SIERRA LEONEEnglish AM, FM, online, TV WN 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000 AfME
SRI LANKASinhala, English AM, FM, online, TV WN 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,500,000 1,500,000 AsiaPac
UKEnglish FM, online1,200,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 1,000,000 AmEu
AUSTRALIAEnglish FM, online, mobile, TV WN 1,100,000 1,100,000 1,100,000 1,000,000 AsiaPac
LIBERIAEnglish AM, FM, online, TV WN 1,100,000 1,100,000 1,200,000 1,200,000 AfME
ZAMBIAEnglish AM, online, TV WN 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 AfME
UKRAINEUkrainian, Russian, English online, TV WN990,000 80,000 1,300,000 390,000 AmEu
RUSSIARussian, English online, TV WN 830,000 330,000 2,300,000 1,800,000 AmEu
Africa/Middle East 87,900,000 83,504,000 92,600,000 88,225,000
Asia Pacific 64,700,000 52,478,000 73,400,000 60,878,000
Americas/Europe 13,820,000 11,760,000 44,800,000 42,740,000

Bold cells indicate audiences that are likely to decline as a result of the changes made.

Shows largest audiences only. Excludes countries served by services that have closed as a result of funding reductions

Supplementary written evidence from the BBC World Service


  • BBC World Service has had to make a number of changes to its operations as a result of a challenging SR settlement. As well as a substantial cut in back office and support functions, this will require closure of some language services, moving resources from radio to online, and reducing short wave transmissions. This will inevitably lead to loss of audiences, in a number of places.
  • This was not an easy choice. All our audiences are important to us. As Peter Horrocks said to the Committee when he informed them that the audience would decrease by 30 million "that is 30 million regrets".
  • However, although the cuts are severe, the World Service will still remain a global broadcaster with significant audiences in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the English-speaking developed world. Moreover, the BBC's global offer extends beyond the World Service radio - its commercially funded services, BBC World News and, also command substantial audiences and maintain the same high standards of impartial global news.
  • Short wave will be reduced; but out of the countries where we have the largest radio audiences (ca 1 million to 22 million), audiences will remain unaffected by these changes in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Bangladesh, USA, Nepal, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Niger, Morocco, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Rwanda, Guinea, Malawi, Brazil, Burundi and Sierra Leone.
  • We believe that audience numbers will however decrease in Tanzania, India, Kenya, Indonesia, Turkey, China, Mozambique, Ukraine and Russia. In these countries, short wave audiences have been declining for some time and it will become increasingly difficult to make any impact on short wave over the next few years.
  • Our priority continues to be to seek to deliver high quality BBC news on platforms where we can make the most impact. Where short wave makes an impact, we will seek to retain the service as long as we can. And we will continue to explore partnerships, medium wave and other means of delivery where we can.
  • Last year our vernacular TV services grew by 72% (from 9.7 million to 16.7 million viewers ) and our vernacular online services grew by 40% (from 5.2 million to 7.3 million unique users).

The attached spreadsheet gives a breakdown of existing and post-SR audiences for BBC World Service and BBC Global News - including BBC World News and - in the top 20 markets with the highest audiences (NB it is not a complete global picture). Markets where audiences are decreasing are highlighted.

14 March 2011

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Prepared 13 April 2011