Sticking to what it had announced last year, BBC World Service has begun its broadcasting in four Indian languagesMarathiGujaratiTelugu and Punjabi.

With this, the BBC will be available in 40 global languages, English included.  The extension of multiple languages is part of BBC’s 2020 project, under which  BBC aims to reach half a billion people in the world and increase access to news and information.

The global news broadcaster 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. To achieve this, BBC World received funding from the British government in November, 2015. It intends to use the funds for enhancing its services in Russia, North Korea and the MENA region. Initially, it received £34 million in 2016-17 and £85 million from 2017-18 for TV and radio. The next review of this funding will be in 2020.

News in Indic languages

The media organizations operating in India are realizing that it is important to push regional languages to penetrate deeper in the country, as only a fraction of the country’s population is English-friendly. A Google and KPMG report on Indic languages showed that around 180 million Internet users could be added by 2021 for pushing news in local languages.

-Last month, Online news portal The Wire announced its launch of Urdu website. The news portal initially launched an English version and then a Hindi version in February 2017.

-In January this year, MediaNama reported that The Indian Express group of publications is using digital to extend its reach in the Indic language markets, beyond Hindi (Jansatta) and Marathi (Loksatta. Indian Express Digital, the group’s digital arm had shared its plan to  launch sites in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Bangla next.

-In October 2015, Times Internet launched a regional language news and entertainment portal called Samayam in Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu. The same month, the Quint launched a Hindi version of its website.

– Local language news aggregator Dailyhunt raised $25 million last year in October, from China-based Bytedance, and other existing investors like Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Falcon Edge, Omidyar and former Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin.

Also Read: This January, MediaNama held an open house discussion on the future of Indic languages online. Read our coverage on the discussions here: Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4.