BBC News in Africa increases reach to 132 million people a week

Niwandinda Daniel
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The BBC’s global reach increased by 11% year on year in 2020 to 468.2m people a week – the highest number ever.

BBC News in Africa has had an impressive year and now reaches 132 million people a week across 12 language services and 30 TV programmes.

Investment from the UK government’s ‘World 2020’ initiative attracted new audiences forSport Africa– with extensive international football leagues coverage, Africa Eyewith ground-breaking investigative journalism,What’s Newfor young African audiences,Smart Money and Money Daily withinnovative business journalism andLife Clinic exploring health and well-being for an African audience.

One of the key successes from the Africa TV portfolio has been the award winning Africa Eye investigations. Its investigations have delivered serious impact as well as reach.
BBC Yoruba (+166%) Afaan Oromoo (+143%), Igbo (+70%), Amharic (+67%) and Tigrinya (+64%) have seen substantial increases year on year since they launched two years ago.

BBC Afrique, Pidgin and Gahuza have seen the biggest digital growth of our services year on year.

Established BBC services including Afrique, Hausa & Swahili are in the top ten services for World Service reaching over 10m people across all platforms. In addition English for Africa now reaches 34 million people across the region.

The top 10 markets across all markets for sub Saharan Africa are:

  • Nigeria
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Ghana
  • Somalia
  • Congo, Dem. Rep.
  • Niger
  • Ethiopia
  • Sierra Leone

Jamie Angus, Director of World Service Group says: “Access to the trusted news can literally be a matter of life and death in these extraordinary times. At the BBC we’re proud of the trust we have built with African Audiences and I’m delighted that this years figures reflect sustained and significant growth in this vital global market.”

Solomon Mugera, Head of Africa Journalism says: “This is a clear message from our audience in Africa that the BBC truly is their home for trusted and reliable news. These figures also show that the BBC’s investment in six new language services, digital expansion and TV programmes is a success story. We serve a dynamic and mobile audience with an insatiable appetite for distinctive journalism.”

BBC News accounts for 438.4m of the total global audience figure, with an annual increase of 13%. Digital platforms are key to the success, with an increase of 53% in BBC News users. A total of 151m users now access BBC News digitally according the annual Global Audience Measure (GAM) which measures audiences in key markets.

In late March 2020, as the Covid-19 virus spread and trusted sources of information were in demand, BBC News recorded the highest reach of any international media organisation in the world with 310m people accessing coverage across 42 languages.

BBC global content is increasingly popular on global platforms like YouTube with a 129% increase in audiences to 47m a week – overtaking Facebook with a 31% increase to 43m.
Twitter reach has doubled to 6m and Instagram also reaches 6m weekly.

Other highlights of the 2020 Global Audience Measure:

  • BBC World Newschannel made significant gains to reach 112m – with growth in the Americas at 50%.
  • BBC World Service Languagesup 13% to 292.1m with a big uptick in digital engagement among audiences aged 15-24 who now make up a third of the total. BBC News Hindi is now the second most popular service with 25m – behind Arabic with 42m (+67%) . BBC Chinese saw an increase of 141% , Russian is up 32% and BBC Mundo 40% . Other big percentage increases include Serbian (+327%).
  • BBC World Service Englishaudiences up by 8% to 97m. The Global News Podcast remains the BBC’s most popular with audiences approaching 1m a week. Italy contributed 1.4m new listeners on DAB radio.
  • BBC Studiosincreased reach by 5.8m to 49.1m up 13%.
  • BBC Media Action –the BBC’s international charity that helps to strengthen governance, improve people’s health and humanitarian response – saw an increase in audience of 3.5m to 18m.

The top 10 countries by BBC News audience are:

India 60.4 million

USA 49.5 million

Nigeria 37.2 million

Kenya 14.6 million

Tanzania 14 million

Bangladesh 11.9 million

Afghanistan 11.4 million

Iran 11.3 million

Canada 9.7 million

Pakistan 9.7 million

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