A new app has been developed and launched by BBC World Service in partnership with US-based Zeno Media.
The app can be used to access news and radio programmes in places that have low internet coverage or where mobile data prices are exorbitant.
Users can either use their data, wi-fi or make use of the ‘call-to-listen’ function ,which is as cheap as a local call, in order to access content.
The new app is currently available globally for iOS and Android users with the exception of the UK while the call-to-listen function will be available in only 35 markets at the moment, including Pakistan and Nigeria.
Zeno Media is a US company that develops apps and phone services for broadcasters.
UK pubcaster the BBC has published its annual report for 2017/18, revealing details of its operations and spending around the world.
The release comes soon after that of its Global Audience Measure, in which the BBC disclosed that Nigeria was its largest market outside the UK.
According to the new report, content accounted for 94% of the BBC’s expenditure in 2017/18, with the remaining 6% spent on organisational operations.
The report also detailed the growth of the BBC’s World Service, with 12 local-language versions, including Yoruba and Igbo services, launching during the period. The year also saw the opening of the World Service’s Lagos bureau, which serves as the headquarters of its West African operation.
Addressing the issue of the gender pay gap, the report stressed that the BBC was doing everything in its power to ensure it leads the way on gender pay and equality.
“We have committed to closing the gender pay gap by the end of 2020 and recently published figures showing the median gap has fallen from 9.3% to 7.6% following concerted action,” the pubcaster said.
“Today’s publication of money paid to those who earned more than £150,000 (US$197,000) from the licence fee shows further progress towards gender equality, with the latest figures showing a 60:40 male to female split in our highest-earning presenters in 2018/19 – a significant improvement from 75:25 – and we are committed to further rapid progress.
“Around 20% of those on the list in 2018/19 are also projected to be from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.”
In April this year, BBC commercial arm BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) and production division BBC Studios merged to form a single company, bringing together production, sales and distribution under the BBC Studios banner.
The report revealed that, before the merger, BBCWW had headline earnings of £1.04bn for the year to April 2018, down 2% on the previous year. However, it returned more than £200m to the BBC for a fourth year running, with a contribution of £209.9m for 2017/18.
UK public broadcaster the BBC has said Nigeria is the biggest market for its World Service (BBCWS) offering.
According to the recently released Global Audience Measure (GAM), the corporation reaches a weekly audience of 376 million, up three million since last year, across all its services outside the UK.
The BBCWS has seen its weekly non-UK audience rise 10 million to 279 million since 2017, while the weekly non-UK audience for BBC News rose a million to 347 million over the same period.
The report shows how many adults the BBC’s international services have reached in the first half of 2018 compared with 2017. It also said that with the growing number of cheaper smartphones, the BBC has been able to expand viewership via its digital platforms, as a total of 27 million people opt for the BBCWS English service via the internet.
Nigeria was revealed to be the largest market for the BBC’s international news services, consuming the most of the BBC’s content with an audience of 41 million. The US comes a close second with 33 million users. After that is India (30 million), Bangladesh (16 million), Egypt (16 million), Iran (13 million), Afghanistan (12 million), Tanzania (10 million), Pakistan (nine million) and Indonesia (eight million). BBCWS’s audience is aged between 15 and 24.
GAM statistics also revealed that just under 40% of the adult population of Nigeria consumes BBC News in some way.
Jamie Angus, director of the BBCWS Group, said: “This has been an exciting year for the BBC World Service, with the launch of 12 new services, new programming and the opening of new and expanded bureaux across the world. So it is great to see international audiences continuing to turn to the BBC for independent and impartial news.
“The figures highlight not only the successes of our global news operation, but the challenges that lie ahead for us. We still need to grow the share of women engaging with our news services globally, and we need to ensure we have the right services to continue to attract young audiences.
“At a time when Britain is forging a new relationship with nations around the world, the BBC’s global news services are more important than ever.”
Lagos-based broadcasting company TVC Communications has announced a collaboration with the BBC World Service, bringing UK news content to the Nigerian channel.
The partnership will see TVC and its 24/7 news channel TVC News airing 368 hours of Africa-themed content from the BBC’s news and current affairs teams over the next two years.
Programmes covered by the deal include BBC Sports Africa and the recently launched Africa Eye. The TVC channels will also broadcast other BBC content such as health programmes, children’s content and business analysis.
Andrew Hanlon, CEO and MD of TVC, said: “I am delighted to announce this landmark deal with BBC News, which forms part of a major ongoing investment in our TV and radio business with the aim of dramatically enhancing services to audiences and advertisers alike.
“TVC Communications is undergoing substantial, positive change, which is now delivering benefits to all stakeholders. This collaboration, with one of the world’s most respected content producers, provides further proof of that change.”
Jamie Angus, director of the BBC World Service, added: “We are pleased to be partnering with TVC Communications. This deal will see more people in Nigeria getting access to brilliant BBC News content. The World Service delivers accurate, impartial and independent journalism to all countries. We spot the stories, see the patterns and make sense of the world.”
BBC World Service delivers content to an audience of over 36 million. It recently added two Nigerian-language services, Yoruba and Igbo, to its World Service in addition to the existing Hausa and Pidgin services.
The BBC World Service (BBCWS) has launched a new TV documentary strand, with the first episode focusing on the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria.
Africa Eye will promote investigative journalism across Africa, reporting on issues affecting countries across the continent.
Its programmes are available on BBC Africa, YouTube and BBC Pidgin, and form part of the BBC’s commitment to invest in original content for Africa in English, French, Swahili and Hausa as part of the expansion of BBCWS.
The first episode of Africa Eye, titled Sweet Sweet Codeine, focuses on Nigerians addicted to a form of cough syrup and how senior figures at some pharmaceutical companies allegedly aid the black market in its illegal distribution. This episode was coproduced by Africa Eye and BBC Pidgin.
Adejuwon Soyinka, editor of BBC Pidgin, who went undercover for the episode, said: “It’s shocking what we found and how much of an epidemic cough syrup abuse has become in Nigeria. Equally shocking is the sheer size of the criminal network involved in the illicit trade”
The episode reported that Emzor Pharmaceuticals had suspended the distribution of cough syrup containing codeine and dismissed one of its sales representatives after discovering that the employee was trading the opiate to the black market. The company is now carrying out an internal investigation and the Nigerian government has since suspended the sale of codeine-based cough syrup.
Speaking about the programme, Nisha Kapur, commissioning editor for TV at BBCWS, said: “Africa Eye will promote the culture of investigative journalism across Africa and strengthen the skills of African investigative journalists.
“All of the programmes will be based on in-depth reporting that holds power to account. They will tackle topics that are of intense interest and concern to audiences in Africa. These reports will be produced in a fresh and contemporary style that resonates with young audiences.”
Africa Eye will feature about 20 original, high-impact investigations across Africa every year. Each episode will 30 minutes to an hour long and will be aired on BBCWS platforms.
BBC Hausa, the Hausa-language offering from BBC World Service, has launched an app that is available to mobile users worldwide.
Created in collaboration with US-based developer AudioNow, the app contains radio content that can be accessed through an in-app audio player. Top news stories can also be read in the app.
BBC Hausa editor Jimeh Saleh said: “We know a lot of our audience and young people now use their mobile phones and apps on a daily basis and for accessing news. We are excited that the BBC Hausa app will allow users to enjoy our content at their own convenience and on the platform they are most familiar with.”
Alexandra Moe, VP of strategic partnerships at AudioNow, added: “We are delighted to develop an app for the BBC Hausa service, expanding reach and connectivity for popular BBC programming to Hausa listeners in Africa and abroad.”
BBC Hausa has been providing content for West Africans for 60 years. It reaches 27 million people weekly via TV, radio and the internet.
BBC World Service has launched channels for Igbo and Yoruba speakers in Nigeria and West and Central Africa.
The Igbo and Yoruba channels went live online yesterday, coming 60 years after the launch of the BBC’s Hausa feed and one year after the debut of its Pidgin service.
The channels will feature original content on various issues that resonate with viewers, including politics, technology, entrepreneurship, culture and female affairs. They will also feature BBC Minute, a 60-second global news round-up.
Speaking about the new services, BBC head of West Africa Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye said: “Delivering content and engaging with the Igbo and Yoruba audiences in their mother tongues is authentic, exciting and refreshing. The BBC is passionate about original journalism that adds value and this is what we want to achieve with these services. These platforms will deliver independent, objective and original news to meet the needs of our audiences in Nigeria and West Africa.”
The channels are mainly targeting viewers using mobile phones. They can be viewed at bbc.com/yoruba and bbc.com/igbo as well as via Facebook and Instagram.