The Global Audience Measure (GAM) released Thursday shows the number of individuals reached by the BBC per week through both news and entertainment content in 2016/17.
The data shows the BBC’s weekly global news audience has risen by 8 per cent to 346 million, with TV, audio and social media driving the increase.
The BBC World Service has seen an increase of 9 per cent since last year, taking its total audience to 269m.
Global News Ltd, which comprises BBC World News television and BBC.com, now has an audience of 121 million, an increase of 12 per cent, with weekly BBC World News TV viewers rising to 99 million.
World Service English has seen another significant rise, with an audience of 75 million around the world, a 14 per cent increase. This has been driven both by syndication and by the growth of digital audio, including internet audio and podcasts. The number of listeners accessing World Service English through internet audio has shot up by 147 per cent to 21m.
The GAM figures show the BBC is on track to achieve the target set by the Director-General of a 500 million weekly audience by 2022, the BBC’s centenary year.
“In a turbulent year for international news, with mounting concern about fake news and social media ‘filter bubbles’, more people than ever before are turning to the BBC for reliable, impartial information they can trust,” said Francesca Unsworth, director of the BBC World Service Group. “We will shortly launch the first new language services in the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s. Today’s audience figures show the need for the BBC is greater than ever.”
Facebook is by far the biggest source of the BBC’s social media reach globally, but there are regional variations – in Iran alone BBC reaches 1.4 million people on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, from a total BBC audience of 12.6 million in that country.