BBC World News launched on Jan 16, 1995 and owned by BBC Global News Ltd. is an international news station with the largest audience share of 99 million viewers weekly (as per 2015-16 estimates). The station was established on March 11, 1991 as BBC World Service Television and was later rechristened as BBC World on Jan 16, 1995 before again becoming BBC World News on April 21, 2008. The international service today is a source of well reputed newscasts, documentaries, debate and analysis programming, lifestyle content and interviews. Unlike its domestic siblings which come directly under the ownership of British Broadcasting Corporation, the station is O&O by BBC Global News Ltd, the commercial arm of BBC financed through advertising and subscription revenues. Not holding UK television license, the channel has therefore no link with BBC Studios. Live the Story is the currently incorporated catchphrase of the service with over dozen sister stations including CBeebies, BBC America, BBC Arabic, BBC Brit, BBC News Channel and others.
Originally launched as a commercial outlet by BBC, the British government didn’t agree to fund the upstart service on its onset. BBC World Service radio and until 2014 used grant-in-aid through Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It started its broadcasts on March 11, 1991 after a test transmission of two weeks which included a half-hour bulletin per day. The World Service split into two services in 1995. A 24-hour free-to-air International English news service on Jan 16, 1995 and BBC Prime which signed on air on Jan 30, 1995, which was light entertainment station later rebranded as BBC Entertainment.
The on-air design of the channel was redesigned on April 3, 2000 to promote symmetry with BBC News 24, its domestic sibling. The new look showed a combination of red and cream adopted by the two sisters. The design was a creation of Lambie-Narin and was inspired by David Lowe’s composition ‘Drums and Beeps’.
A second addition of the design: drums and beeps was introduced with the newly built graphics. The color scheme of Black and Red was coupled with a slight change in music. Putting News Frist replaced Demand a Broader View as the catchphrase of the service. On April 21, 2008, the channel was named as BBC World News, the news rebranding cost service 550,000 sterling pound. It would later shift to refurbished facility just vacated by BBC News 24 now BBC News Channel. The graphics/design and music makeover was supported by Lambie-Nairn and David Lowe respectively.
Relocation Broadcasting House
Previously settled at Television Center, the channel transferred to its new broadcasting facilities at Broadcasting House on Jan 14, 2013. The move was intended to get all the outlets into building in Central London. The revamp of Broadcasting House cost £1 billion. A new cutting-edge facility including newsroom and a couple of state-of-the-art-studios were built.
Live News transmission station comes from Studios B and C in Broadcasting House with some recorded content received from Broadcasting House studio A and BBC Millbank studio. The newsroom used by the BBC World News in Broadcasting House is also shared by BBC World Service and domestic outlets of the network.
The move to the new facility with new HD studios and cutting-edge equimpment gave channel the opportunity to broadcast in HD. On Aug 5, 2013, the channel introduced HD feed across Middle East though Arabsat; the network’s maiden distribution partner in Middle East. On April 1, 2015 the HD broadcasts reached Europe and Coastal North Africa.
Worldwide Reach and Availability
BBC World News can be watched by a global audience of 74 million in 200+ countries and territories spread across the globe. Mainly available as a free-to-air service, the service is available in Europe and other continents through satellite and cable services.
In US, the providers of the service include Comcast, Verizon FiOS, Cablevision, AT&T U-verse and Spectrum. The US distribution and advert sales operations are under the control of AMC Networks as of 2014, who have a minority share with BBC’s entertainment channel BBC America. The service offers syndicated programming across United States of its daytime broadcasts and evening news programs to public TV’s while it originally maintained a partnership with WLIW that operated from Garden City, NY; the contract ended in Oct 2008. It then signed a new agreement with KCET, a Los Angeles based service.
In Europe the station can be received as a free-to-air service via European satellite systems including Hot Bird and Astra. It is also available as a stand-alone, full-time service in select UK locations such as Hotels and public areas of Broadcasting House i.e. lobby and café.
On July 16, 2017, the Channel started streaming via YouTube and is available in US as Sling’s World News add-on package. It was available on LiveStation until its closure in 2016.
Awards and Accolades
In Nov 2006, the service was named Best International News Channel at the Association for International Broadcasting Awards. It also received a Peabodies in 2007 and 2009 for its programs White Horse Village and Where Giving Life is a Death Sentence.