Written evidence submitted by BBC World
WS continues to lead in the
international radio market across the region, outperforming international
radio competitors in the majority of vernacular languages in which
it broadcasts. The total measured weekly audience for South Asia
is 41.1 million.
There has been a notable increase
in audiences in Sri Lanka and Nepal, which has been boosted by
local FM partnerships.
BBC reputation (on key attributes
of trust, objectivity and relevance) remains strong against other
international providers in most markets, though domestic broadcasters
are usually ahead.
BBC Hindi is gearing up to enter
the FM market in the main cities in India, as soon as government
restrictions on news broadcasts are lifted. The BBC already has
a foot in the door, via commercially-run BBC Worldwide which has
gone into partnership with a local FM operator in Delhi. However,
shortwave will remain as the method of listening in rural areas.
English listening continues
to be niche in the region, but BBC World Service has gained some
audience this year, up by 630,000.
Use of BBC language websites
is growing steadily, and in several cases such as Urdu, growth
has been particularly impressive.
The Urdu Service will shortly
deliver news bulletins to mobile phone subscribers in Pakistan.
Audiences to BBC World TV remain
stable across the region, standing at nine million. According
to an independent survey, BBC World reaches 35% of decision makers
The BBC World Service Trust
project, Diaologue on Bangladesh, delivered the BBC's biggest-ever
season of programmes in Bangladesha series of radio and
television "Question Time" debates that attracted audiences
of over five million, and provided a platform for ordinary people
to challenge the government in a way never previously experienced.
BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial
arm, has been very successful in tapping the lucrative entertainment
market in India.
The BBC faces strong competition and challenges
in South Asia.
TV has become the dominant news source in India,
and there are restrictive laws on the radio markets. Commercial
non-state radio is a relative newcomer in India. Since they were
sanctioned in 2000, music-based FM stations have proliferated
in the cities and hundreds more licences are up for grabs. But
only state-run All India Radio can broadcast news.
In Pakistan, the expansion of private radio
and television stations brought to an end more than five decades
of the state's virtual monopoly of broadcasting.
Licences for more than 20 private satellite
TV stations have been awarded, signalling increased competition
for the state-run Pakistan Television Corporation. But there are
no private, terrestrial TV stations.
By 2005 around 100 licences had been issued
for private FM radio stations. Pakistan's media regulator has
estimated that the country can support more than 800 private radio
stations, although they are not allowed to broadcast news. There
are regular reports of private FM stations operating illegally,
particularly in the tribal areas of North-West Frontier Province.
Some of the stations have been accused of fanning sectarian tensions.
In Bangladesh, the main broadcastersRadio
Bangladesh and Bangladesh Televisionare state-owned and
favourable to the government. Bangladesh Television is the sole
terrestrial TV channel, although private satellite stations have
established a presence.
The constitution guarantees press freedom, but
journalists are subject to regular harassment from the police
and political activists.
In Sri Lanka, many of the main broadcasters
are state-owned, including two major TV stations, and radio networks
operated by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.
There are more than a dozen private radio stations,
and eight privately-run TV stations. Sri Lanka's privately-owned
press and broadcasters often engage in political debate, and criticise
In 2002, against the background of the peace
process, the government allowed Tamil Tiger rebels to begin FM
broadcasts of their Voice of Tigers radio station in the north.
The station had previously operated on a clandestine basis.
As violence escalated in 2006, the media freedom
watchdog Reporters Without Borders said "murders, arrests,
threats and bombings" had become "the daily lot"
for many reporters.
The internet is a growing medium for news in
Sri Lanka; many papers have online editions.
In Nepal, the government operates national radio
and TV services. In May 2006 Nepal's new multi-party government
eased some of the edicts that had stifled press freedom during
the state of emergency invoked by King Gyanendra in February 2005.
The Maoist rebellion in Nepal, and the efforts to suppress it,
have had a profound impact on the media. Rights groups say attacks
on media workers have been perpetrated by both sides in the conflict.
The increased media choice available to consumers
in South Asia means the BBC faces tough competition. The growth
of satellite/cable TV, particularly in India and Pakistan, has
significantly reduced radio usage. However, deregulation and the
spread of FMs may help to boost radio as a medium.
BBC PRESENCE IN
The BBC's South Asia Bureau is based in Delhi
covering the region from Bangladesh to Iran. There are three news
correspondents based there.
Additionally, the BBC has a news correspondent
in each of the following countries: Pakistan (in Islamabad), Sri
Lanka (Colombo), Nepal (Kathmandu) and Bangladesh (Dhaka).
Apart from these newsgathering correspondents,
BBC World Service employs a large network of reporters to serve
the language services across the region. These reporters also
serve the English newsgathering and news programmes.
BBC World runs three offices in Indiain
Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi (office shared with news correspondents),
employing a total of 43 people with dedicated teams of sales,
distribution, finance, research, marketing and PR professionals.
BBC WORLD SERVICE
In South Asia BBC World Service broadcasts in
six languages; Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Sinhala and Nepali
across a number of media platforms. English news and programmes
are also broadcast to the region 24 hours a day.
Hindi radioThere are
four daily programmes, including two half-hour programmes in the
morning. The hour long flagship programme is at 1400 GMT. The
last programme goes out early evening for half-an-hour. These
are only available on short wave.
BBCHindi.com is a 24x7 website
offering news and information about India and the world in Hindi
to its users. There are some interactive elements as well. BBCHindi.com
has a partnership with one of India's largest Hindi portals, Webdunia.
Urdu radioThe Urdu Service
broadcast three programmes daily: a half-hour programme in the
morning, an hour long programme in the evening, and a half-hour
programme at night. They all go out on short wave and can also
be heard on medium wave.
BBCUrdu.com is one of World
Service's top three most popular language sites. The online operation
includes video streaming, interactivity and citizens' journalism.
The website has huge impact as it plays a key role in setting
the news agenda in the regional media. Newspapers and other websites
routinely download and publish its stories and features.
Mobile phoneThe Urdu
service has struck a deal with Mobilink, the largest mobile network
in Pakistan, to deliver a two minute audio bulletin to their subscribers.
The project is in its final stage and delivery is currently being
tested in Pakistan. The service is expected to start very soon.
Bengali radioThere are
three daily programmes throughout the afternoon and evening, each
of half an hour's duration. The programmes go out on short wave
in rural areas in Bangladesh and India. They can be heard on FM
only in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. BBC World Service is trying
to rebroadcast on FM in five other cities which would have a very
positive impact on audience figures.
Bengali onlineThe BBC
offers news and information in text and audio to users. The online
market is a very niche market both in Bangladesh, and the target
states in India, because of low penetration of the internet. However,
there is a developed diaspora market.
Sinhala radioThe Sinhala
Service broadcast a half-hour programme dailyat 1545 GMT.
It goes out on short wave and is rebroadcast on FM in most parts
of the country through the state broadcaster, Sri Lankan Broadcasting
Sinhala onlineThe online
operation offers a basic text and audio service.
Tamil radioThe Tamil
Service broadcast a half-hour programme dailyat 1530 GMT.
It goes out on short wave in Sri Lanka and India and is rebroadcast
on FM in most parts of Sri Lanka through the state broadcaster,
Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation.
Tamil onlineThe website,
offering text and audio generally built around the radio output,
is updated once a day and is quite popular.
Nepali radioThere is
a half-hour programme daily at 1500 GMT. It goes out on short
wave and is rebroadcast on 14 stations with various partners all
over Nepal, including state-run Radio Nepal.
offers text and audio in Nepali and is updated once a day.
BBC WORLD SERVICE
Short wave still delivers the bulk of the audience
in the region and will remain important in the near future, largely
in rural areas. However, it is in decline in many urban areas,
so a presence on FM is the key to building and maintaining radio
IndiaThe delivery platform is
still short wave, but as the FM market is gradually being deregulated,
the BBC is trying to get a foothold here. The current government
regulations impose restrictions on news on FM radio. However,
there have been some encouraging signs lately, and foreign investment
in the FM market has been allowed. Commercially-run BBC Worldwide
has gone into partnership with a local FM operator in Delhi and
BBC World Service is providing them content in the form of a short
business, sport and entertainment bulletin. It is expected that
the restrictions on news will be eased very soon and BBC World
Service is gearing up to enter the market in a big way with various
Indian languages and English as soon as this occurs.
PakistanThe platform delivery
is mainly short and medium wave, although BBC Urdu is seeking
to expand its availability with local FM partners. The Urdu Service
started delivering news bulletins to a local partner station,
but Pakistan's regulators imposed restrictions on the project,
and the FM bulletins had to be closed down. Negotiations with
the regulators continue, and BBC Urdu are expecting a decision
on this in the next few days. However, in general the media is
free in Pakistan apart from certain areas such as the North West
Frontier Province, Waziristan and Baluchistan where there are
severe news reporting restrictions on foreign media. Despite these
restrictions, the BBC Urdu service reports on everything newsworthy
from those areas through its reporters' network.
BangladeshThe delivery platform
is mainly short wave in Bangladeshthe BBC is currently
on FM only in the capital, Dhaka, although BBC World Service has
tried repeatedly to extend this to five other cities. The media
is generally free and open in this country, but at times political
pressure can be visible on the media. Although there are no official
reporting restrictions in Bangladesh, the media rights organisation
Reporters Without Borders says journalists are targeted by Islamist
and Maoist groups, as well as officials and politicians.
Sri LankaDelivery platforms are
short wave and FM. Working conditions are largely free, but attacks
on journalists and media are not uncommon. As violence escalated
in 2006, Reporters Without Borders noted that Tamil factional
violence had had "bloody" consequences for some journalists.
It is very difficult to report from the war-zone for this reason,
and because of poor communication and travel restrictions. However,
both the Sinhala and the Tamil services have developed their own
stringers' network and report on the conflict through them.
NepalDelivery is via short wave
and FM. Working conditions for reporters have improved over the
last few months after a period of upheaval. When the King of Nepal
took over power after dismissing the elected Parliament in February
2005, many journalists were arrested and severe restrictions were
imposed on the media. This affected all the private radio stations
which were broadcasting BBC Nepali programmes on their frequencies
(though some of these defied the Government and carried on regardless).
BBC Nepali programmes on the state-run Radio Nepal were also interrupted.
However, as a result there was a marked increase in the shortwave
audience for the Nepali Service at that time. Since the King handed
over power following a popular uprising, the media has been operating
in a free environment. BBC Nepali transmission has returned to
normal for the momenthowever, problems may re-surface as
the political situation in the country is fluid.
BBC WORLD TELEVISIONOUTPUT
BBC World is broadcast to around
17.24 million homes across South Asia. The channel's household
distribution breakdown is as follows:
BBC World is also available
in around 52,500 hotel rooms across the region.
South Asia is a key focus for
BBC World and regional specific programming continues to be an
important element of the channel's output.
To build BBC World's regional
business reporting, the channel recently appointed Karishma Vaswani
as its first ever South Asia Business Correspondent.
Karishma reports from Mumbai
for the daily programmes Asia Business Report broadcast in Asia
and the Middle East, and World Business Report, transmitted globally.
India is the largest market
in South Asia for BBC World. The channel conducted a business
review in 2005 and made some changes to the commercial side of
the business to ensure the channel can compete in this highly
On 15 June, BBC World encrypted
its digital broadcast TV signal on the PanAmSat10 satellite to
South Asia. At the same time, BBC World changed its distribution
strategy from a "free-to-air", to a subscription model,
for various TV platform distributors.
BBC World is a commercial channel
and the transition from "free-to-air", to a subscription
model, was a natural progression for BBC World in South Asia,
and was in response to the dynamic and rapidly expanding cable
TV and DTH satellite market across the region.
As part of BBC World's global
distribution strategy, the channel has provided Integrated Receiver
Decoders to all the multi-system operators (MSO's) and cable operators
in India to facilitate the move from free-to-air to subscription.
It is important to clarify that it's the MSO's and cable operators
that pay for the subscription, not the end consumer.
BBC World will continue to be
a pay channel in hotels across the region.
BBC GLOBAL NEWS
The BBC Global News Division encompasses BBC
World Service radio, BBC World television and BBC online, and
its shared editorial mission is to report global news accurately
News programmes in all languages are built around
the same core of global news, plus the main regional stories of
BBC World Service in English provides comprehensive
coverage of events in South Asia, making use of its correspondents
on the ground, a network of local reporters, and by linking in
with the people who live there.
In the aftermath of the South Asian earthquake
in 2005, BBC World Service helped to bring the full impact of
the disaster to the world's attention, using its reporters as
well as first-hand accounts from ordinary listeners. Coverage
on radio and online was maintained long after general media interest
had waned, featuring reaction, discussion, analysis and images
from devastated areas including many contributions from listeners
and web users.
Other notable programmes on the region have
Have Your Say, the global phone-in programme,
discussed the impact of India and China's economic growth in May
2006. It included a case study of an Indian farmer, and covered
topics such as challenges ahead for both economies, impact on
global trade, urban and rural disparities, the threat to energy
supplies and the impact on the environment.
In Heart and Soul, Life in a Madrassah
broadcast in April, a BBC Urdu Service producer spent a week inside
Karachi's biggest madrassah to investigate what happens in these
religious schools and the alleged links with fundamentalism and
whether they encourage young Muslims to go off on jihad.
Making Cities Work, a four-part series
broadcast in July, that looked at cutting edge solutions for transport
and housing as well as ways of making cities cleaner and more
liveable, chose Mumbai as one of its topics. It looked at attempts
to "plan" its way out of traffic gridlock.
The MTV Generation broadcast in July
looked at the impact of the world's most ubiquitous music network
in India as part of a two-part series. MTV India stood out as
the only one of MTV's stations to play predominantly local music.
Western pop videos and American presenters were replaced by Indian
presenters, Hindi film clips, and dance numbers from hit films.
It explored whether MTV reflected increased Americanisation in
the country, or the growing aspirations of a changing India.
More recently in October, Assignment
investigated Nepal's Maoist Courts: across huge areas of
Nepal, justice is administered not by the Nepalese government
but by the People's Court, which is run by the Maoists. These
courts deal with a variety of cases ranging from theft and assault
to allegations of immorality. Access was gained to some of these
courts and the programme reported on the kind of justice they
From Our Own CorrespondentBangladesh
Running On Empty, broadcast in October reported on how the
Bangladesh government is trying to find a solution to the country's
electricity problems, so far, without success.
Programmes from the language services include
The Hindi Service has recently secured
the agreement of the Indian President, Professor Abdul Kalam,
to take part in a multi-media interactive show, talking to Indian
university students. The event is scheduled for November.
For India's 60th anniversary of Independence,
the Hindi Service produced a series of special packages from Delhi
looking at how India has changed since independence. One of the
highlights was audio diaries of people from the generation who
had witnessed the independence.
BBChindi.com joined forces with its online
partner Webdunia to conduct online journalism workshops for students
in India. Teams held special sessions at universities and schools
of journalism in Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, providing the students
with an insight into how online works, and giving them hands-on
training in how best to write for web audiences. At the end of
the workshop, the students were assigned special subjects to write
on, and the best three pieces were published on bbchindi.com.
The BBC brought together Indian and Pakistani
musicians and singing superstars, India's Shubha Mudgal and Pakistan's
Abida Parveen, who took part in the landmark programme debating
how much power art and music have to bridge the two nationsthe
relationship between culture and power, and the role of art in
defying borders, prejudice and hostility. The BBC Hindi and BBC
Urdu services staged a live linkup between Mumbai and Karachi
with invited panellists and a studio audience which was broadcast
on both language services. Audiences in India, Pakistan and around
the world also had the opportunity to voice their views and follow
the proceedings via webcasts on bbchindi.com and bbcurdu.com
The joint BBC Hindi and BBC Urdu event was part
of the Who Runs Your World? seasonthe biggest ever
single-themed tri-media season of programmes of the BBC's international
news division exploring different aspects of global power.
BBCUrdu.com explored the sensitive issue
of missing or disappeared people in Pakistan in a special debate
in Islamabad. The discussion was webcast live on the website and
also broadcast on radio. In preparation, BBC Urdu compiled the
list of those known to have disappeared in recent years, which
remains online and is regularly updated. The Information Minister
of Pakistan, Mohd Ali Durrani, and former head of the Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI), Asad Durrani, took part in the special broadcast
which explored every aspect of the disappeared, from legal to
Urdu Online have also begun a blog by Mukhtar
Maia Pakistani woman, who was a victim of gang rape and
has become an internationally-known women's rights campaigner.
Mukhtar Mai, who is in her mid-30s, lives in a remote village
in southern Punjab and can't read and write herself. She narrates
the blog once a week to her friend, who then faxes it to the Urdu
service in London. The blog is getting worldwide attention and
a large number of e-mails, mostly from men. She has stirred up
a lively debate about traditional attitudes towards women, discussing
some hidden issues, rarely talked about in Pakistan. The blog
has famously become known as Mai Blog.
The Bengali Service, working in conjunction
with the World Service Trust, is running a series of radio and
television "Question Time" debates ahead of the elections.
The programmes, coming from nine major cities across the country,
brought together political leaders from different parties to debate
current issues, with an invited audience. The programmes went
out on the Bengali service and on the satellite television, Channel
I. The first debate included senior leaders from the three major
parties sharing a platform, a rare event in Bangladesh. All debates
were packed to capacity. There was wide coverage of the debates
in the national press and feedback from listeners has been extremely
BBC Nepali broadcast a special programme
with the leader of Nepal's Maoist rebels. In an hour-long programme
from Kathmandu, Prachanda took listeners' questions asked via
telephone, email and letters. There were also questions recorded
from remote parts of Nepal which lack communication facilities.
The press in Nepal reported widely on the programme. This followed
the huge controversy last year, when the Nepali Service's partner
station, Sagamartha, was shut down following an interview with
BBC WORLD COVERAGE
South Asia is one of the most reported regions
on the network as BBC World has two daily programmesAsia
Today and Asia Business Report. There are 40 editions
of Asia Today each week, covering the issues behind the
news and the people who make the news across Asia.
In the last nine months alone, BBC World has
commissioned two India-focused seasons Emerging Giants and
India Week. Emerging Giants, broadcast in May, involved
a team of reporters and correspondents interviewing and reporting
from India for Asia Today, Asia Business Report,
World Business Report plus news bulletins examining the
rise of the country to global status.
Furthermore, BBC World also commissioned two
major series from India this year. Being Indian followed
the lives of four children in India from widely differing backgrounds
to find out what social change and mobility really means for the
children of India today. Also, Call Centre was a seven-part
series offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the growing
Indian service industry.
BBC IMPACT IN
BBC World Service's total measured audience
for South Asia is 41.4 million.
EnglishThe audience for World
Service in English to this region stands at 3.6 million, up by
630,000 since 2004.
The current total weekly audience for Hindi
radio is 17 million, of which 15.1 million are in India. The majority
of Hindi listeners (over 80%) are based in the five Hindi belt
states of India ie Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan
and Uttaranchal. There is also a small but dedicated diaspora
audience in the Gulf region. The core audience is more likely
to be educated and male compared with the general population.
A 2004 survey in the five states indicated 50% of the audience
were between the ages of 15 and 35. As a majority of them live
in rural or semi rural areas where there is limited penetration
of other media, BBC Hindi is either their only, or at the least,
the most reliable source of news and information from around the
world. Hindi audiences in India have gone up by 600,000 since
2004. However, many young people are moving to urban areas for
higher studies and they have access to other TV channels (and
FM radio) and tend to compare BBC's coverage with them.
As part of a BBC World Service drive to get
closer to the audience, a BBC Hindi roadshow toured India in February
this year. Aapki baat: Aap ke beech (Your views directly from
you) toured the heartland of Bangalore, Kalinganagar, Muzaffarpur
and Pune and the states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the run-up
to India's budget announcement. Ordinary people were able to quiz
a panel of experts on issues surrounding the budget and economic
policies, and voice their views on what the economic transformation
of India meant to them.
The average monthly page impressions are currently
around 9 million. Until recently, the majority of its users were
based in the US (and some in European countries and the Gulf).
Given a low internet user base in India, the BBCHindi.com has
a low reach, but the gap between the diaspora and the Indian users
of the Hindi online service has gradually been closing. Broadband
internet service has just taken off in India and it is expected
to expand very fast. That should have a positive impact on user
figures from India. Again the profile of the Hindi user is pre-dominantly
male, highly educated, professional and between the ages of 25
The weekly Urdu radio audience is around 9.5
million, including about 8.2 million in Pakistan, and 900,000
in India. There is a sizable audience in Indian-administered Kashmir
but because of the ongoing conflict there, that audience could
not be measured. The audience is mostly rural and semi-rural,
and has been declining steadily because of the introduction of
satellite TV channels and FM radio stations. The Urdu service
started delivering news bulletins to a local partner station in
Pakistan but the government regulatory body imposed restrictions
on the project and the FM bulletins had to close down. BBC World
Service is in the middle of negotiations with the regulators and
expects some developments soon. When the Urdu Service was broadcasting
on FM, it picked up an additional million audience within the
first six months. Despite the difficult market conditions, the
BBC remains a very strong player in the Pakistan radio market
and is second only to Radio Pakistan in terms of national reach.
BBC Urdu broadcasts are regarded as a lifeline of information
to many listeners in Pakistan who rate the programmes highly on
trust and reliability. Newspapers and TV channels often pick up
the service's stories and run themgiving the credit as
BBCUrdu.com is currently one of World Service's
top three language sites, and in August 2006 it achieved 18 million
page impressions. Indeed, from mid-August to mid-September 2006
Urdu.com had the largest number of page impressions in the World
Service. 29% of its audience is from Pakistan, the rest are from
Europe, North America and the Gulf region. The website has huge
impact as it plays a key role in setting the news agenda in the
regional media. Newspapers and other websites routinely download
and publish its stories and features.
The BBC Bengali service has a weekly audience
of around 10.75 million in total, including 8.3 million in Bangladesh
and 2.4 million in India. The last survey reported a drop in listening
in Bangladesh. That was not unique to the BBC, but was common
across many radio broadcasters. Despite this general fall in radio
listening, BBC remained by far the strongest brand in Bangladeshvery
highly regarded in terms of trust, relevance and objectivity and
way ahead of its competitors. Again BBC Bengali is a lifeline
for information to the bulk of the audience in Bangladesh. BBC
listeners in Bangladesh are predominantly male (83%), almost half
the listeners are under 35, more than 60% have secondary or higher
education and the majority are based in rural areas, in line with
The Bengali audience in India is highest in
the state of Assam, where according to the last survey the reach
was 6.4%. The BBC is the number one international radio provider
in two Eastern Indian statesAssam and West Bengal. Bengali
audiences in India are up by nearly 1.3 million since 2004.
The online market is a very niche market, both
in Bangladesh and the target states in India, because of low penetration
of the internet. However, there is a developed diaspora market,
and there have been instances of high page impressions during
elections and periods of political turmoil.
There are more than 2.1 million listeners in
Sri Lanka, which is around 16% of the adult population. Anecdotal
evidence suggests that during crisis time these numbers go up
dramatically. People from different social and economic groups
listen to the BBC Sinhala service. It has a high impact in the
country because of on-going conflicts thereit is able to
deliver unbiased reporting and engage in debate on the Tamil ethnic
issue, which is at the core of the conflict. The audience is quite
opinionated, but still the BBC Sinhala service enjoys a huge reputation
in terms of trust and objectivity. Cabinet ministers, opposition
leaders, university professors, film directors, authors, housewives,
peasants, workers, soldiers, and students often give feedback.
The online operation is fairly basic as the
internet user base is small in Sri Lanka. The Sinhala service
got more than half-a-million hits on their web page last month
with many people coming to the site for audio. Many users are
from the diaspora community in Europe and North America.
The Tamil Service has, as its primary target
audience, the Tamil speaking parts of Sri Lanka and the southern
Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Although it is not possible to gain
an accurate audience measure in the northern and eastern provinces
of Sri Lanka where most Tamil listeners are based, indications
are that listening is very high (thought to be as much as 7 in
10 but these figures cannot be validated as there has been no
official census in the conflict-ridden north and east for the
past 25 years). However, in the areas outside north and east of
Sri Lanka, where the figures are available, the audiences for
the Service have recorded growth and according to the recent survey
it is estimated to be at 4.5% (up from 1.8% in 2001). The Tamil
Nadu figures are unavailable as there has been no recent survey
there. The audience is assumed to be cutting across social stratifications,
gender and age.
The website offers basic text and audio, but
is nevertheless, quite popular. The traffic is predominantly from
the diaspora Tamils from North America, Western Europe, India
and Australia. The traffic frequency is news driven. In August,
for instance, when the tensions escalated in Sri Lanka, the website
attracted, for the first time, more than a million hits.
According to the BBC's first near-National survey
in Nepal conducted between December 2005 and January 2006, the
BBC Nepali Service's weekly audience figure stood at 20.6%, amounting
to 3.2 million weekly listeners (followers just over 31%; Influencers:
41.6%). The impact of radio is phenomenal which is well reflected
in the audience figure. Nepalis around the world have high confidence
and trust in the material the service produces.
BBCNepali.com receives over half-a-million page
impressions a month. Online impact is relatively low as the internet
penetration in Nepal is very low.
BBC World television
Audiences for BBC World across the region stand
at nine million.
According to an independent survey carried out
in 2004-05, BBC World reaches 35% of decision makers in India
and it had seen increases of 57% since the last year surveyed
among the "real" decision makers such as CEOs/MDs, and
has the strongest affinity to them.
BBC World's recent Global Indian Survey is the
biggest research project undertaken by the channel to understand
global India's mindset and behaviours. In its next phase the survey
will partner with hotels to understand the globally minded individual
from a global travellers point of view.
BBC WORLD SERVICE
The BBC World Service Trust is the international
development charity of the BBC. It works with people in developing
and transitional countries to improve the quality of their lives
through the innovative use of the media.
The Trust's work seeks to raise awareness among
mass and opinion-former audiences; affect behaviour change; influence
policy and transfer skills and knowledge. The Trust works to strengthen
free and independent media through its Media Development Group
and delivers educational programming and health campaigns through
its Development Communications Group.
HIV and AIDSJasoos Vijay (Detective Vijay),
the Trust's long-running TV detective serial raising HIV and AIDS
awareness, has made it into the top 10 of India's audience ratings.
The serial, believed to be the most successful and widely-watched
TV drama with a health message anywhere in the world, is attracting
a weekly audience of almost 16 million viewers. The project is
funded by DFID and more than 150 episodes of Jasoos Vijay have
been broadcast since it went on air in 2002. Filmed entirely on
location, it is made in Hindi and dubbed into seven other languages.
It is broadcast at peak viewing time on Sunday evenings on India's
most watched TV channel, Doordarshan National.
The Trust is also delivering a TV advertising
spot campaign on HIV and AIDS and is working with local NGOs to
produce a weekly radio programme in Hindi, for areas with limited
TV access. This DFID-funded project is targeting women listeners
with broad messaging spanning HIV, health, empowerment and governance.
The Trust is planning to launch a major mass
media campaign to promote condom use in the Indian states with
the highest prevalence of HIV, with support from the Gates Foundation.
Developing Media Capacity to Cover Environmental
IssuesThis EU-funded project aims to mobilise the media
and NGOs to raise public awareness of the key environmental challenges
facing India and to push environmental issues higher up the news
agenda. The integrated capacity-building programme combines hands-on
training and mentoring for journalists and NGO staff and creates
opportunities for dialogue between the media, NGOs and government
and independent experts from India and the EU. Twelve working
broadcast and print journalists are being trained from each of
the nine states identified for the project. In delivering this
initiative, the Trust is being partnered by The Energy and Resources
Institute (TERI) in Delhi and supported by the Television Trust
for the Environment (UK) and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).
In March 2006, the Trust started broadcasting
a new daily radio serial entitled Piyar ka Passport (Passport
to Love). It was broadcast on the BBC's Urdu service and FM stations
in Pakistan, and also linked audiences in Pakistan with the diaspora
community in the UK. The drama was part of a wider pilot project
designed to raise awareness and stimulate dialogue around a range
of social issues related to marriage and family life. Based on
real-life experiences and written and produced by an all-Pakistani
team, the drama was set in a fictional community in Northern Pakistan
and used plotlines, discussion, phone-in programmes and debates
to increase knowledge inside and outside Pakistan. The serial
was supported by a website, featuring first person testimonies
and articles tackling such themes as forced marriage, migration,
drug addiction and its impact on the family.
In Bangladesh, the Trust has embarked on the
second phase of its Bangladesh Sanglap (Dialogue on Bangladesh)
project, a series of live TV and radio debates using the Bengali
Service and national cable channels. Ministers, social activists,
editors of national newspapers and business leaders engage with
the public in debates covering justice, corruption, education,
health, trade and security. The first phase of the project attracted
audiences of over five million people and 92% of those surveyed
felt that the programmes had provided an opportunity for the voice
of the people, particularly deprived people, to be raised. 78%
said they helped to ensure transparency and accountability. The
research suggests that people believed that they had been given
a platform to challenge the government in ways never before experienced
The BBC has a strong history of trading in India
and sees the country as an important and exciting growth market.
In other countries in the region activity is mainly limited to
a small amount of TV sales.
BBC Worldwide is about to launch
two new TV channels in India, which will be available by satellite
from October 2006, and then via additional cable network access
by early 2007. The two channels are: CBeebiesan advertising-free,
pre-school channel for children and parents to be broadcast in
Hindi and English in order to help under-fives learn through play;
and BBC Entertainmenta general entertainment channel comprising
the best of British drama and comedy, broadcast in Hindi. This
is the first TV channel deal for BBC Worldwide in India.
As mentioned in the World Service
Delivery Methods section earlier on, BBC Worldwide has successfully
bid for FM radio licences in seven key metropolitan areas of India
with its partner Mid Day Multimedia Ltd. These will go live early
Two years ago BBC Magazines
set up a joint venture with Times of India to create Worldwide
Mediaone of India's largest publishing companieswith
a portfolio of over 30 popular titles. An Indian version of BBC
Top Gear was launched by the company earlier this year
BBC Worldwide has a healthy
television sales business, with Discovery Networks India as a
key customer. Key genres are history, science and natural history.
A recent package licensed to Discovery India included Life In
The Undergrowth, Manhunters, Deep Ocean, Genghis Khan, Hannibal
In the past BBC Worldwide has
had some very successful content and production format sales in
India including Yes Minister and Keeping Up Appearances. In September
Strictly Come Dancing joined this list. Called "Jhalak Dikhhla
Jaa Dancing With the Stars", the Indian version of Strictly
Come Dancing is on Sony Entertainment Television, and airs every
Wednesday and Thursday at 2200.
In the home entertainment market,
books, videos and audiobooks relating to BBC programmes are licensed
to a range of Indian publishers. A recent deal saw a range of
children's DVDs in Hindi and English being released by Saregama.
The increased media choice available to consumers
means the BBC faces tough competition. The growth of satellite/cable
TV, particularly in India and Pakistan, has significantly reduced
Short wave still delivers the
bulk of the audience in the region and will remain important in
the near future, particularly in rural areas. However, it is in
decline in many urban areas.
Deregulation and the spread
of FMs may help to boost radio as a medium. A presence on FM is
the key to building and maintaining radio audiences, especially
in the cities.
India: Radio audiences in English,
Hindi and Bengali are up year-on-year. The global news strategy
is to keep short wave in the Hindi belt and work for FMs in main
cities, working with BBC Worldwide. The BBC is now looking at
TV in Hindi, as this is the dominant news source.
As part of the global distribution
strategy for BBC World television, the channel was successful
in its transition to a subscription model in India, and will continue
to pursue this.
Pakistan: The radio audience
is down, whilst online is growing significantly. FM was allowed
by the government, but then taken away. The BBC will continue
to push for a license to distribute and syndicate BBC FM products,
including news. In the long term, the strategy is to assess the
potential and feasibility of TV, as short wave audiences in general
are declining since the introduction of satellite TV channels.
Bangladesh: The radio audience
is down, although the BBC brand is still strong. The Bengali Service,
in conjunction with the World Service Trust, has produced high
impact TV programmes ahead of elections. The strategy here is
to push for five new BBC FM relays, one of which would reach Kolkata
Nepal and Sri Lanka: World Service
language audiences in both markets have been boosted by successful
FM partnerships. BBC World Service will continue to pursue this
strategy for the foreseeable future.
BBC World Service