BBC World Service will launch in 5 African and 4 Indian languages (Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu and Punjabi) along with Korean in 2017. The company will expand its digital services including mobile and video content and a “greater” social media presence. With this, the BBC will be available in 40 global languages, English included. According to a Nieman Lab report, the company plans to create 157 new roles in Delhi in India and expand its bureau. The expansion into Indian languages is set for late 2017 but the BBC does not mention a timeline or dates.
The British company says that this expansion will be made possible using the funding from the British government which was announced last November. It intends to use the funds for enhancing its services in Russia, North Korea and the MENA region and a target readership of 500 million by 2022. Initially, it will get £34 million in 2016-17 and £85 million yearly from 2017-18 for TV and radio.
The BBC will also grow its news bulletins in Russian, add TV series across Africa with over 30 new TV programs, offer new regional programming from BBC Arabic, radio programs, online and social media content for Korean audiences, and an investment in World Service English for new programs and original journalism.
Video a key driver of growth in India
As of November last year, the media house claimed to have a global audience of 308 million. At that time, the the company said that video was a key growth driver for BBC Global News in India. It was working on a mobile app and mobile first video, given that over 50% of its users consumed BBC News on mobiles and tablets, up from 12% in 2012. BBC saw a 21% increase in unique visitors from India to the digital platform, and that several of the company’s advertisers were opting for the digital platform to engage with their audience.
In March this year, BBC News started using chat applications Viber and WhatsApp to publish its documentaries.