BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
February 12, 1999, Friday
SECTION: World Broadcast Information; UNITED KINGDOM; WBI/0007/WB
LENGTH: 805 words
HEADLINE: BBC World Service announces three-year plan
SOURCE: Source: BBC World Service press release, London, in English 10 Feb 99
Text of press release by BBC World Service
London, 10th February: BBC World Service today announced ambitious plans to
meet the broadcasting challenges of the next three years with a major investment
programme in the Internet, a repositioning of the English programming and the
expansion of FM distribution. The following plans were announced by Chief
Executive, World Service, Mark Byford:
- Twelve World Service language services will be fully multimedia in both
text and audio by 2002. All World Service language services will be in real
audio on the internet by 2005.
- Two continuous streams of English programming will be introduced - a 24
hour news stream, World Service News, and a stream of high quality general
programmes called World Service Plus, both available on the Internet and
satellite 24 hours a day. Programmes from these streams will offer increased
flexibility for rebroadcasters and will be utilized to meet different audience
needs around the world.
- More FM frequencies for World Service will be sought with the aim, wherever
possible, of being on FM in every capital city of the world within five years.
These investments are funded by the comprehensive spending review settlement
of an extra 30m pounds operating expenditure and 14m pounds extra in capital
investment phased over three years, awarded by the government last summer. The
plans will create at least 26 new jobs. These are in addition to the 53 jobs
created last month by the launch of the new English-language news programmes,
The World Today for South Asia and East Asia.
Mark Byford said: "These plans help to secure the long term future of World
Service, and ensure our position as the world's leading international
"By 2002 over 300 million people around the world will be connected to the
Internet - World Service will be there with unrivalled news and information. We
will aim to be on FM in as many capital cities of the world as possible - while
maintaining a strong, core shortwave network, particularly in the least
developed and politically sensitive parts of the world. World Service is
broadcasting in a world where competition for audiences is increasingly fierce
The British Broadcasting Corporation, February 12, 1999
- we need to use the media our audiences use. This is evolutionary but ambitious
and exciting change - and it means World Service will remain the first choice
for objective, independent news and a showcase for British creativity and
The World Service online investment in at least 12 languages will make the
BBC the world's leading online news provider. In English, the online
developments will build on the success of BBC News Online, already the most
visited news web site in Europe. World Service will expand news coverage of
South Asia and Africa, the Far East and the Middle East, offering listeners even
better coverage of key regions of the world.
The two new streams of English programming will allow the mix of World
Service programmes to be specially adapted for listeners in different parts of
the world. This means that while World Service listeners on shortwave will
continue to hear the present "rich mix" of news and general programmes,
listeners to World Service on FM in cities such as Berlin, Prague, Amman and
Nairobi will be able to hear their own specially tailored version of World
Service compiled from the programmes available on both streams.
In parallel to these investments, World Service has looked hard at its
existing services against the media background at the turn of the century. The
following are the key changes:
- The German-language service will close. In the developed world, the World
Service strategy is to target the cosmopolitan audience of opinion formers and
decision makers, primarily through the English service. Recent audience research
shows that a quarter of opinion formers in Berlin listen to the World Service,
but nine out of 10 listen in English. Spending will be focused on an enhanced
English service, and on broadcasting in FM in Germany in order to serve this
target audience. A new European business correspondent for the World Service
based in Frankfurt and a new correspondent in Berlin will be appointed as well
as increasing FM distribution across German cities.
- Shortwave coverage will be reduced in regions where this does not endanger
the ability of audiences to access World Service programmes (e.g. where FM
frequencies are available). Moreover, shortwave coverage will remain fully
protected in areas of the world where local broadcasting arrangements could be
threatened by political instability.
- Given the difficulties of learning a language via shortwave, English-
language teaching programmes will focus on listeners in a smaller, key range of
countries, and will now be supported by a range of multimedia materials.