Kolkata: The BBC World Service has surpassed 1 billion podcast downloads, with latest figures showing downloads of nearly 28 million a month. The World Service is marking the milestone with a selection of 10 ‘must listen’ programmes for podcast enthusiasts around the world.
The World Service began podcasting in July 2007, when six World Service programmes were available, gaining over 1.3million downloads in the first month. By April 2015, 78 World Service programmes were available across 11 languages including English, Arabic, Azeri, Burmese, Cantonese, Indonesian, Kinyarwanda, Nepali, Persian, Russian and Tamil, and the total downloads for that month were over 27.9 million.
Mary Hockaday, Controller of BBC World Service English said: “This underscores that we’re seeing a resurgence in radio and audio. Podcasts help us reach new and younger audiences both in the UK and right around the world. Our distinctive output covers everything from global news, science, literature, history and business to compelling human interest stories and language learning guides, and podcasts offer a way for listeners to sample some of the best World Service content. Whatever your interest, whenever it suits you, there’s something for everyone.”
Among the most frequently downloaded World Service podcasts is Global News – the twice daily compilation of topical stories, interviews and reporting from around the world. Since it began podcasting in August 2007, Global News has been downloaded over 322.7 million times. Documentaries, which provide an in depth look at stories and issues from around the world, have been downloaded over 151.8 million times. Recent examples include the critically acclaimed Lost Children of the Holocaust, which traced child holocaust survivors named in radio appeals broadcast at the end of World War Two.
And, every month, over 2 million people improve their English with BBC World Service’s most popular weekly podcast, The English We Speak. Since launch, there have been more than 77 million downloads of this podcast.
A recent addition to the World Service’s podcast offering is BBC Minute – a 60-second dynamic news summary aimed at younger audiences worldwide updated every 30 minutes.