NEWS11 December 2019

2019 Business Impact of the Year – global: BBC World Service

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At the 2019 MRS Research Live Awards, BBC World Service was awarded Business Impact of the Year – global.

The Business Impact of the Year global category rewards a client or organisation that has embraced research to make a lasting impact on its business and operations at an international level.

BBC’s core operating metric for its international news operations is ‘unique people reached weekly', and this is assessed through its Global Audience Measure (GAM).

Reported annually by the BBC World Service audiences team, GAM combines multiple measurement methodologies across platforms to create one metric that allows for comparison across all of the organisation’s activities.

The BBC World Service Group executive committee champions the project, with its director hosting the main GAM annual release event streamed via the BBC intranet to offices globally. This year, the committee also participated in a GAM workshop developed by the World Service audiences team, with outputs used by the World Service Group director to set objectives for the organisation.

All GAM data is accessible to over 3,000 BBC News employees around the world, via a digital foresight dashboard. Additionally, this year the organisation created short videos summarising performance for each of the 42 global news services.

In the last year, GAM data has been used to:

  • Renew focus on and invest more in YouTube
  • Increase investment in podcasts. BBC News launched programmes designed specifically for podcasts rather than radio for the first time, and podcast reach has grown 5% in the last year
  • Renew focus on young audiences – 32% of the BBC News audience is aged 15-24, up 10%
  • Divest from declining platforms
  • Focus more on attribution issues and direct platforms. The BBC’s global news websites have increased their combined reach by six million to 51 million globally.

The BBC is reaching 426 million people worldwide a week, an increase of 50 million over the year. India saw a rise of 20 million to 50 million to become the top overseas market for BBC News. The audience in Kenya has increased from six million to 15 million in the last year, reaching 50% of the population, while in Afghanistan, the BBC reaches 59% of the population.

The judges said: "The impact of the BBC World Service project was truly global, and the complexities involved in integrating data sources from all over the world to allow comparisons across all regions and activities should not be underestimated. The entry was compelling and demonstrated a clear outcome: a refocusing of strategy that led to an increase in viewership figures."

Tin Radovani, senior strategy manager, BBC News, said: "The insight BBC WS Audience team offers is particularly relevant in targeting existing market gaps in our performance, whether it is particular demographic segments or distribution opportunities."

Santanu Chakrabarti, head of audience insight, BBC World Service, said: "Any good audience insight team is driven by the idea of making a genuine difference to business outcomes. That is why we are thrilled to win the MRS Award for Business Impact of the Year. Thank you very much to the judges for recognising our work and indeed to the BBC World Service for being such an interesting, inspiring and empowering place for us to do the work."

The full list of 2019 MRS Awards winners can be found here.

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