|Broadcast area||Worldwide (except UK)|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i/480i for the SDTV feeds; Latin American and Indian subfeeds downscaled to letterboxed 4:3 480i)
|Owner||BBC Studios (BBC Global News Ltd)|
|Sister channels||See list|
|Launched||16 January 1995|
|Former names||BBC World (1995–2008) |
BBC World News (2008–2023)
|Website||BBC World News|
|Boxer TV Access (Sweden)||Channel 27|
|RiksTV (Norway)||Channel 55|
|Digital terrestrial television (Andorra)||Channel 20|
|ERT (Greece)||Channel 48|
Channel 56 (HD)
|GOtv (Sub-Saharan Africa)||Channel 41|
|Digital terrestrial television (Mauritius)||Channel 2|
|Nexmedia (Indonesia)||Channel 703|
|DStv (Sub-Saharan Africa)||Channel 400|
|Zuku TV (Kenya)||Channel 510|
BBC News (formerly BBC World News) is an international English-language pay television channel owned by BBC Global News Ltd.— a subsidiary of BBC Studios—and operated by the BBC News division of the BBC. The network carries news bulletins, documentaries, and other factual programmes; its programming is based out of studios in London, Washington, D.C., and Singapore. As of April 2023, the channel largely operates as an international feed of the BBC News channel in the UK, sharing the majority of its schedule.
Launched on 11 March 1991 as BBC World Service Television outside Europe, its name was changed to BBC World on 16 January 1995 and to BBC World News on 21 April 2008 and again to BBC News (International) on 3 April 2023 after its consolidation with the domestic BBC News Channel. According to the BBC, the combined seven channels of the Global News operations have the largest audience market share among all of its rivals, with an estimated 99 million viewers weekly in 2016–2017, part of the estimated 121 million weekly audience of all its operations.
Unlike the BBC's domestic channels, it is funded by subscription and advertising revenues, and not by the United Kingdom television licence. As such, the channel is not broadcast in the UK directly, although selected programmes and bulletins have been carried on the domestic BBC News channel (especially during the overnight hours), and vice versa (including domestic programmes such as Click and HARDtalk, and during breaking news and special events in the UK).
In April 2023, the BBC began to further consolidate the programming and talent of the two channels as part of a corporation-wide streamlining of operations, with both channels now using the BBC News branding. The international feed remains an advertising-supported service, but the two services structured to use a common schedule with domestic opt outs for UK-specific news coverage and programmes.
The channel originally started as BBC World Service Television and was a commercial operation. The British government refused to fund the new television service using grant-in-aid. (BBC World Service radio was funded by a grant-in-aid from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office until 2014.) The channel started broadcasting on 11 March 1991, after two weeks of real-time pilots, initially as a half-hour bulletin once a day at 19:00 GMT.
On Thursday, 26 January 1995 at 19:00 GMT, BBC World Service Television was split into two services:
- BBC World started broadcasting on Monday, 16 January 1995 at 19:00 GMT and became a 24-hour English free-to-air international news channel.
- BBC Prime started broadcasting on Monday, 30 January 1995 at 19:00 GMT and became the BBC's light entertainment channel, later renamed BBC Entertainment.
BBC World's on-air design was changed significantly on 3 April 2000, bringing it closer to the look of its sister channel in the UK which was then known as BBC News 24, the on-air look of which had been redesigned in 1999. The look of both channels was made up of red and cream and designed by Lambie-Nairn, with music based on a style described as 'drums and beeps' composed by David Lowe, a departure from the general orchestral nature of music used by other news programmes.
On 8 December 2003 a second makeover, using the same 'drums and beeps' style music but new graphics took place, although on a much smaller scale to that of 2000. The music was changed slightly while the main colour scheme became black and red, with studios using frosted glass and white and red colours. Later in 2004, the channel's slogan became Putting News First, replacing Demand a Broader View.
On 21 April 2008, as part of a £550,000 rebranding of the BBC's overall news output and visual identity, the channel was rebranded as BBC World News. It later moved to the renovated studio vacated by BBC News 24 (now the BBC News Channel). New graphics were produced by the Lambie-Nairn agency and music reworked by David Lowe.
Move to Broadcasting House
The channel relocated to Broadcasting House from its previous home at Television Centre on 14 January 2013. This was part of the move of BBC News and other audio and vision departments of the BBC into one building in Central London. Broadcasting House was refurbished at a cost of £1 billion. A new newsroom and several state-of-the-art studios were built.
Consolidation with the domestic BBC News channel
On 26 May 2022, as part of planned cuts and streamlining across the broadcaster, the BBC announced plans for consolidation of the domestic BBC News channel in the UK with BBC World News. The domestic and international versions would share a larger amount of content, while maintaining the ability for opt-outs when necessary. The BBC promoted that the service would offer "new flagship programmes built around high-profile journalists, and programmes commissioned for multiple platforms". In preparation for the expansion, the BBC began to add additional staff to its Washington, D.C. bureau.
The first stage of these changes took effect on 3 April 2023, when the BBC World News channel changed its name to BBC News, and began to consolidate its on-air lineups and programming with the UK BBC News channel. This resulted in layoffs of about 50 employees, including presenters David Eades, Joanna Gosling, and Tim Willcox. Despite the changes, the international feed of BBC News—which continues to be distributed by BBC Studios—still opts out of specific programmes that are specific to UK audiences, such as simulcasts of BBC One news bulletins and Newsnight; Deadline Hollywood reported that in response to concerns over the arrangement by telecom and broadcasting regulator Ofcom, BBC News was considering allowing for more UK-specific opt-outs.
Live news output originates from studios B, C and E in Broadcasting House with some recorded programming from Broadcasting House studios A and D and the BBC Millbank studio, as well as Manchester, Singapore and Washington. The BBC News newsroom is now part of the new consolidated BBC Newsroom in Broadcasting House along with BBC World Service and UK domestic news services.
Previously, the channel was broadcast in 4:3, with the news output fitted into a 14:9 frame for both digital and analogue broadcasting, resulting in black bands at the top and bottom of the screen. On 13 January 2009 at 09:57 GMT, the then-called BBC World News switched its broadcast to 16:9 format, initially in Europe on Astra 1L satellite, and Eutelsat Hot Bird 6 satellite to other broadcast feeds in the Asian region from 20 January 2009. The channel ceased broadcasting on analogue satellite on 18 April 2006.
As a result of the move to Broadcasting House, BBC News gained high-definition studios and equipment to be able to broadcast in high-definition. On 5 August 2013, the international feed of BBC News was offered as a High Definition (HD) feed across the Middle East when it launched its international HD channel on the Arab Satellite Communications Organization. Arabsat was the BBC's first distribution partner in the Middle East to offer the channel in HD. On 1 April 2015, the BBC World News in English started broadcasting in high definition from the 11.229 GHz/V transponder on Astra 1KR at the 19.2°E orbital position, available free-to-air to viewers with 60 cm dishes across Europe and coastal North Africa.
BBC News claims to be watched by a weekly audience of 74 million in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. BBC News is most commonly watched as a free-to-air (FTA) channel. The channel is available in Europe and many parts of the world via subscription television providers in cable, satellite, IPTV and streaming platforms.
In the United States, the channel is available through providers such as Cablevision, Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon Fios, and U-verse TV. As of 2023, American distribution and advertising sales for the channel are handled by AMC Networks, who are the minority partner for the BBC's entertainment channel BBC America.
In addition, BBC News syndicates its daytime and evening news programmes to public television stations throughout the US, originally maintaining a distribution partnership with Garden City, New York-based WLIW that lasted from 1998 until October 2008, when the BBC and WLIW mutually decided not to renew the contract. BBC News subsequently entered into an agreement with Community Television of Southern California, Inc., in which Los Angeles PBS member station KCET (which was a public independent station from 2011 to 2018) would take over distribution rights to BBC World News America (the KCET agreement has since been extended to encompass a half-hour simulcast of the 90-minute-long midday news bulletin GMT, which airs in the US as a morning show, and a weekly edition of the BBC newsmagazine Newsnight).
Since June 2019, distribution of the programme has been handled by Washington, D.C. PBS member WETA, which also produces other networked news and public affairs programmes such as the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week. PBS separately began distributing another programme aired by the channel, Beyond 100 Days, as a tape-delayed late night broadcast on 2 January 2018, as an interim replacement for Charlie Rose. Unlike GMT and BBC World News America, Beyond 100 Days is distributed exclusively to PBS member stations as part of the service's base schedule.
China banned BBC News in 2021—although access had already been heavily restricted before then, and what was carried was censored with parts of the show being blacked out by censors operating live. It was banned owing to its coverage of the Uyghur genocide and in retaliation for CGTN's ban from the British market for violating national broadcast regulations.
The international feed of BBC News was available on LiveStation from 2012 until the platform closed in 2016.
TV platforms in the UK (i.e. Freeview, Sky, BT TV, Freesat, Virgin) do not officially offer the international feed of BBC News as a standalone full-time channel because it carries and is funded by advertising (BBC's domestic channels are funded by a television licence fee which households and establishments that want to watch television programmes as they are being broadcast must pay), although it can be easily received due to its 'free-to-air' status on many European satellite systems, including Astra and Hot Bird and is available in selected London hotels. The TV platforms however do provide the UK feed of BBC News channel which carries much of the same programming. The international feed of BBC News can also be viewed in the public areas of Broadcasting House (the lobby and café).
However, some programmes are officially available to UK audiences through the UK feed of the channel. Such programmes air on the BBC's domestic channels, and some are available on demand on the BBC's iPlayer. From 00.00 to 05.00 UK time, the top-of-the-hour news bulletins on are broadcast on both UK and international feed of the channel. At 01.30 weekdays, Asia Business Report and Sport Today also air on both channels. There is a simulcast of the 05:00 UK edition of The Briefing and Business Briefing on BBC One and the BBC News channel. This programme was previously branded as The World Today' (later a generic BBC World News bulletin) and World Business Report respectively. At 08.30 UK time, Worklife airs on the BBC News Channel. BBC News also produces a version of Outside Source at 21:00 UK time Monday-Thursday (seen on the BBC News Channel), World News Today at 19:00 Monday-Friday (seen on BBC Four), and 21:00 Friday-Sunday (seen on the BBC News Channel). World News Today replaced The World, which had been broadcast as a simulcast on BBC Four between 2002 and 2007.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw an increase of simulcasts between BBC News and BBC World News with simulcasting now running through the morning (10am to 11am) also shared with BBC Two, and the evening (7pm to 8pm & 9pm to 10pm) The additional simulcasting was made permanent in August 2020. Consequently, the two channels now simulcast between each day 10:00 to 11:00 and on weekdays 19:00 to 06:00, apart from the BBC News at Ten and for hour at 20:00, and between 21:00 to 06:00, apart from the evening BBC One bulletin, over the weekend.
The BBC implemented a wider consolidation of the networks' lineups in April 2023.
Live news programmes:
- BBC News – International news.
- BBC World News America – News from America and around the world, live from the BBC's Washington DC bureau.
- The Context with Christian Fraser in London reports on international news, with a focus on the UK, Europe and the US (previously called 100 Days, 100 Days +, Beyond 100 Days and BBC News with Katy and Christian).
- Focus on Africa – BBC News' flagship African news programme, with news, business and sport from the continent.
- Newsday – Live from Singapore, news and analysis from both an Asian and global perspective.
- Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg - Interviews and analysis of the weeks big news from the UK and around the world, including interviews with key politicians and personalities from all walks of life.
- Verified Live - Analysing and fact-checking the truth behind the news based on available data and facts.
- BBC News Now - fast-moving breaking news with live interviews and reactions.
- The Daily Global - Roundups and a brief look at global news from around the world every day.
Live business and sport programmes:
- Asia Business Report – Live from Singapore.
- Sport Today – International sports news and results.
- World Business Report
- Click – Technology programme aimed at non-technical audiences.
- HARDtalk – In-depth interviews with personalities from all walks of life.
- Newsnight – Weekly highlights from the daily domestic news programme.
- Our World – Documentaries.
- Panorama – Current affairs programme, featuring interviews and investigative reports on a wide variety of subjects.
- Reporters – Weekly reports from the BBC's correspondents.
- Talking Movies
- The Travel Show
- The Briefing – Sally Bundock with news, business, and sport.
- Dateline London – Foreign correspondents based in London discussing the week's international news.
- Global – International news and analysis.
- Live – International news, including business and sport.
- Impact – Global news as it affected audiences in Asia.
- Outside Source – Discussion and analysis of news topics.
- World News Today – A daily news programme with in-depth analysis. Focus on the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Presenters included Nancy Kacungira, Karin Giannone, Kasia Madera, Alpa Patel and Philippa Thomas.
BBC News bulletins
Half-hour BBC News bulletins are made available to PBS stations in the US through Los Angeles' KCET, a non-commercial independent public television station which has been separate from PBS since the beginning of 2011 due to a rights fee dispute (it returned to being a minor PBS member station in 2019 after a merger with the major PBS member station in the market). 80 to 90% of Americans are able to receive the bulletins, with PBS member stations having scheduling discretion. The programme is broadcast on several PBS stations in markets such as New York City and Washington DC.
On PBS stations, BBC News is not broadcast with traditional commercials (the breaks are filled with news stories) but omits the Met Office international weather forecast at the end of the programme, replacing it with underwriting announcements. The PBS broadcasts are tape-delayed on some stations.
BBC America formerly aired a three-hour block of BBC News programmes from 05:00 to 08:00 on weekdays until the stabilisation of the network's carriage in the United States. Met Office forecasts were removed, and it was broadcast with advertisements.
Many airlines from across the world also play pre-recorded extracts of BBC News, have text headlines from it or have a full bulletin available on the in-flight entertainment systems.
Another BBC World News programme, the hour-long BBC World News America, aired on BBC America at 19:00 Eastern Time Zone. A second broadcast at 22:00 Eastern Time ended in 2010 when BBC America introduced a second feed for the western time zones of the US on 18 February 2011, it was announced that BBC World News America would no longer be broadcast on BBC America and would instead be broadcast only on BBC World and local PBS stations in the US as a 30-minute programme.
The channel also produced short bulletins for public transport services in Singapore and Hong Kong:
- Singapore Mass Rapid Transit service from Marina Bay to Changi International Airport
- Hong Kong MTR service from Chek Lap Kok International Airport-Disneyland Resort station to Disneyland Resort line
These broadcasts began with the statement: "Welcome to BBC World News on board the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit and Hong Kong MTR". The short bulletin was updated twice a day, and has since been replaced by a similar programme from Mediacorp's CNA.
BBC News is, for the most part, the same channel all over the world; the commercials are intended to be the only differences. However, there are some regional programming variations. For example, a number of programmes are made exclusively for regional viewings, such as Indian feeds, and The Record Europe, which is only broadcast in Europe. Also, the weather forecasts focus more on the area the viewer is watching from.
On most feeds of BBC News, when there are no commercials being inserted by the cable or satellite provider similar to other channels, the break filler shows promotions for upcoming programmes on the channel. During BBC News, a news story that has not been promoted airs during what would be the television advertisement. This is the case on the broadband versions of BBC News, and on versions of BBC News aired in the US on PBS stations. However, there are some global commercials and sponsorships which air throughout the network.
On 11 September 2007, the break filler was redesigned and now more closely resembles previous versions.[clarification needed] The promotional videos now fill the entire screen and are interspersed with news and market updates, schedules, and other information. There is also no longer a unifying music composition. Instead, each 20-second promotional video uses music selected from a handful of themes, which have some unifying musical characteristics. The information screens, such as the 10-second plug for the website or YouTube channel, and the 15-second weather/time/coming up screens each feature their own theme. The colour theme was updated following the relaunch of the channel in April 2008.
Since its inception, and more so since its extensive association with the BBC News channel, the countdown to the hourly news bulletin has been a feature of the channel's presentation, accompanied by music composed by David Lowe. The current style of countdown features reporters and technical staff in many different locations working to bring news stories to air. The new countdown keeps the same music, but with Chameleon-style branding and clock relocated to the middle from the bottom right corner, similar in style to that of BBC Alba. The countdown can range from 45 seconds to as little as 3 seconds.
The then-called BBC World News was named Best International News Channel at the Association for International Broadcasting Awards in November 2006. It won a Peabody Award in 2007 for White Horse Village and another in 2009 for Where Giving Life is a Death Sentence.
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