BBC World Service’s Tamil language service is set to be moved from London to India, reports Hindustan Times. The BBC Tamil team in London will be relocated with BBC Hindi in Delhi. This move is part of BBC News’ costing cutting plans, which aims to reduce costs by £700 million by 2017.
A BBC World Service spokesperson told the publication that the service will now focus on improving content for Tamil audiences in India, although it will continue to serve the Tamil audience in Sri Lanka and the diaspora. As part of this move, BBC will be closing all Tamil posts in London and opening new posts in Delhi.
Last week, BBC News had announced its plans to cut a further 415 posts and restructure the organisation, as indicated by The Guardian. It notes that 215 posts were already cut in 2012 and 2013 and a total of 620 posts are expected to be cut by 2017. BBC’s director of news and current affairs James Harding told the publication that the cuts will result in £48 million in annual savings.
A part of the savings (around £12 million) will be re-invested in BBC’s digital platforms and improving its original journalism coverage. Of this, around £4 million will be used for improving social and mobile news, data journalism, online analysis and News Labs.
World Service will also reportedly receive an additional £13 million over the next three years for investment in digital journalism and development of the language TV services. It’s annual budget has also been increased to about £250 million from £245 million.
BBC World Service is BBC’s international radio service which broadcasts news, speech and discussions in 28 languages including Hindi, Tamil, Bangla and Urdu among others.
India-focused content services by BBC
BBC News launched an India edition in November 2011, with the aim of providing a localised news experience to its readers. At the time we had questioned if BBC’s India edition is local enough? India also featured in BBC’s Country Direct segment, which claims to look beyond headlines. The India Direct section was last updated on February 26 this year, indicating that the section was probably shut.
In comparison, the BBC Hindi service offered more customised content, and even has a mobile edition. In March 2013, BBC World Service launched a BBC Hindi Android app. At the time BBC Hindi Editor Nidheesh Tyagi had told Exchange4Media that traffic to the Hindi mobile website had increased 330% over the past year and that it accounted for one-third of total direct traffic to the website.
Earlier in April this year, BBC had provided audio bulletins and other updates related to Indian elections via WhatsApp, WeChat and BBM to users. It had also launched Hindi and Urdu news apps for Nokia Series 40 phones in Octover 2012.
Back in 2010, BBC Hindi had also inked a deal with Jagran Prakashan’s bilingual daily newspaper Inext, to make its content available on print and online.