The BBC has announced plans to accelerate the BBC World Service’s digital offering and increase impact with audiences around the globe. This supports the BBC’s strategy, announced earlier this year.
Changing audience needs around the world – with more people accessing news digitally – go alongside a challenging financial climate. High inflation, soaring costs, and a cash-flat Licence Fee settlement have led to tough choices across the BBC, and the BBC’s international services need to make a saving of £28.5m, as part of the wider £500m of annual savings and reinvestment to make the BBC digital-led.
The proposals will see seven more language services moving to digital only, modelling the success of others which are already offering purely digital services and performing well with audiences. This means that nearly half of all 41 language services will be digital only.
The BBC World Service will continue to operate in all the languages and countries where it is currently present, including the new languages added during its expansion in 2016. No language services will close.
Some TV and radio programmes will stop under the new plans. BBC Arabic radio and BBC Persian radio will also cease.
Radio services the BBC is proposing to stop include Arabic, Persian, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Hindi, Bengali, Chinese, Indonesian, Tamil, and Urdu. Language services the BBC is proposing to move to digital only are Chinese, Gujarati, Igbo, Indonesian, Pidgin, Urdu, and Yoruba.
It will close Arabic, Bangla, Persian and some TV programming on local broadcasters across Africa and Asia.