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“With our world-class content, we could use our current output and the richness of our archive to create a Netflix of the spoken word,” said Lord Hall.
“One of the big challenges I have set my teams is just that: to enhance our global audio offer. The BBC makes the best radio in the world. It is one of our crown jewels, and we have an extraordinary wealth of audio riches at our disposal.
“It’s one of the things that will help the BBC carry the full weight of Britain’s culture and values, knowledge and know-how to the world in the years ahead. And say something really important about modern Britain.”
Statement on newly announced Government funding of the World Service
Tony Hall, the Director-General of the BBC, said:
“I warmly welcome today’s announcement. It’s fantastic news.
“This new funding is the single biggest increase in the World Service budget ever committed by any government.
“The millions announced today will help the BBC deliver on our commitment to uphold global democracy through accurate, impartial and independent news reporting.
“The World Service is one of the UK’s most important cultural exports and one of our best sources of global influence. We can now further build on that. The funding will also help speed us on to our target of reaching half a billion people globally.”
Enhanced TV services for Africa
New radio services for audiences in North Korea; radio and digital services for Ethiopia and Eritrea
Additional language offers via digital and TV in India and Nigeria
More regionalised content to better serve audiences to the BBC Arabic Service
Dedicated TV output for Somalia and a fully digital service for Thailand
Enhanced digital and TV services for Russian speakers, both in Russia and surrounding communities
A video-led digital transformation of Languages services
To expand the impact and future-proof World Service English
BBC director general, Tony Hall, said the corporation will become an “open BBC for the internet age”.
While Hall was quick to add that funding cuts would equate to “the loss or reduction of some services” he also highlighted several efforts that would include shortwave and mediumwave broadcasts, including:
“Significant investment” in the BBC World Service, including a daily news programme for North Korea and more broadcasts to Russia, India and the Middle East
A news service for Ethiopia and Eritrea on medium wave and short wave
Of course, we can expect more cuts to BBC World Service shortwave broadcasting over the next ten years even if it wasn’t specifically mentioned in Hall’s speech. If we’re lucky, the BBC will continue to broadcast into those parts of the world that still rely on shortwave. Specifically mentioning North Korea, Ethiopia and Eritrea appears to be a nod in that direction.