26 million Nigerians listen to British Broadcasting Television news service weekly, down from last year audience of 27.5m, an independent surveys have revealed.
Globally, the BBC’s Global News division attracts a record weekly global audience of 238 million people to its international news services including BBC World Service and the BBC World News television channel, according to independent surveys.
Last year’s audience totalled 233 million.
BBC World Service attracted a record weekly audience of 188 million.
This figure was boosted by its new BBC Arabic television channel but masked an overall decline in radio listening which was down five million to 177 million in 2008/9.
However, despite this loss, BBC World Service remains the world’s most popular international radio broadcaster.
The largest overseas audiences for BBC news, across all platforms, are in Nigeria (26.0m), USA (24.1m) and India (22.2m).
The biggest increases in the BBC’s global audience estimate came from Arab-speaking countries like Saudi Arabia (+1.9m), Egypt (+1.3m), and Syria (+1.0m), and newly-surveyed markets like Niger (+2.4 million), Liberia (+1.1m) and Guinea (+1.4m).
However, radio audiences in Iran dropped by 1.6 million due to a decline in shortwave listening there and the cutting of mediumwave transmissions.
Sri Lankan radio audiences dropped by 1.5 million after the BBC withdrew FM broadcasts there following government interference with the BBC’s FM broadcasts in the Sinhala and Tamil languages.
There were also losses in Nigeria (-1.5m) due to increased local competition.
UK listening to BBC World Service hit record numbers with 1.5 million weekly domestic listeners in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 9%. Radio audiences in the USA also grew to a record six million.
Surveys of key Arabic-speaking markets indicated an audience of eight million weekly viewers for the new BBC Arabic television channel across those specific markets. A more comprehensive figure for the channel will be made available when other countries in the region are surveyed.
BBC World News – the BBC’s commercially-funded international English language news and information channel – can now be received in 292 million homes, attracting 74 million viewers a week.
Major development and enhancement of the BBC’s international facing news sites and mobile phone offer was rewarded with a record 16 million unique online users, a 27% increase on last year.
BBC Global News Director Richard Sambrook said: “In a year when international radio listening to the BBC actually went down marginally, record overall global audiences demonstrate the success of our multimedia strategy and investments. Increasingly, audiences want access at a time and place that suits them.”
(Source: BBC World Service International Publicity)