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BBC World Service announces £8m investment plan

The BBC World Service has announced it will put £8m of new investment into digital and multiplatform news programming in a drive to reach younger audiences and keep ahead of the changing media environment.

Director Peter Horrocks made the announcement in a speech to staff on 18 February, six weeks before the World Service rejoins the Licence Fee. The new initiatives are expected to create around 130 new jobs in the coming year

Horrocks said the World Service TV programmes and responsive mobile sites will play an increasingly important part in the World Service, but radio will remain its ‘bedrock’.

The initiatives include:

  • New video news bulletins for Burmese TV, to go alongside newly launched editions for Francophone Africa, Pashto, and Kyrgyz
  • Pilots of Global Newsbeat – radio bulletins aimed at younger audiences, to attract the next generation of World Service listeners
  • A major boost to language service websites, with more translated content from the BBC’s international website
  • An increased focus on multiplatform, multi-lingual programming, with award-winning World Service formats such as Witness being turned into TV programmes and translated into other languages
  • Responsive design for all World Service websites

Horrocks also announced that Global News (which comprises GN Ltd, Monitoring and BBC Media Action) would be renamed the World Service Group.

He said the World Service had weathered the deep cuts it was subjected to and used them as ‘a spur to innovation’. He added that commercial top-up funding will enable more investment in content and services without increasing costs to licence fee payers.