Arab Spring coverage helps BBC global weekly audience rise by 14m

Thanks to the performance of its Arabic and Persian services, the BBC's international audience has increased by 6% from this time last year


The BBC’s global weekly audience rose by 14m viewers over the past year, thanks in part to the Corporation’s coverage of the Arab Spring.


The increased audience brought about a 6% rise in the BBC’s audience outside the UK since this time last year, taking its total international audience to 239m people per week.

This huge international audience is made up of people consuming content through the BBC’s World News TV service, World Service radio, the corporation’s Arabic and Persian TV channels (which are also available online) and, the international commercial version of the BBC News website.

Peter Horrocks, Director of BBC News said of the rise in viewers: “This has been driven primarily by the performance of our BBC Arabic and BBC Persian services.

“As tumultuous events in the Middle East and North Africa unfolded, audiences increasingly turned to the BBC for independent news they could trust.”

However despite the evident hunger for BBC journalism around the world, Horrocks highlighted the difficulties the BBC faces in providing high-quality coverage of world events in the future due to cuts in the Corporation’s budget.

On his blog, Horrocks wrote: “The figures are cause for cautious confidence but certainly not complacency,” 

 “Funding cuts from the Foreign Office have lessened the BBC’s ability to take our journalism into some countries, and the overall figures would have been even higher still without these reductions.


“But the figures do underline the lasting importance of our international mission. These figures are a step in the right direction as they underline the international desire for the sort of independent journalism that the BBC provides.”