BBC Arabic TV audience records 80% rise
Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 05-12-2011
BBC Arabic TV's audience has risen from 13.5 million to 24.4 million since the start of the Arab uprisings, according to independent research published on 5 December by the British broadcaster.
The channel's weekly reach across Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco has almost doubled to 18.4% from its pre-Arab spring level of 9.8%.
Overall, the BBC Arabic service – which launched in 1938 - drew 33.4 million adults each week: a 50% increase on 2010, with Arabic online and television services both attracting more viewers. However, the BBC Arabic radio audience fell from 11.5million to 10.1 million during the year.
The biggest increases were seen in Egypt, where 9.3million people a week watched BBC Arabic TV, the equivalent of 16.2%, or quadruple the number of people who tuned in prior to the country's revolution.
Liliane Landor, controller, languages, BBC Global News, said: "In turbulent times, the BBC's aim to provide trusted news and impartial information is more valued than ever across the Middle East and North Africa.
"These impressive figures show that international audiences are increasingly turning to the BBC for independent news that they can trust.
"In an increasingly competitive TV market, it demonstrates that there will always be space for high-quality journalism that seeks to inform all, even-handedly."
In Jordan, double the number of people watched BBC Arabic TV this year, with a weekly reach of 22.4% from 8.8%; while audiences in Saudi Arabia also doubled from a weekly reach of 12.2% to 24.6%.
In Iraq, 4.9 million people now watch the channel, an increase of 5.1% to a weekly reach of 26.6%; while 4% more Moroccans have watched BBC Arabic TV since the start of the Arab Spring.
The research, carried out by the Broadcasting Board of Governors' International Audience Research Programme (IARP), was conducted in Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco in face to face interviews by AC Neilsen in February and July 2011.