BBC World Service now attracts 163 million weekly radio listeners to its 33 language services ? a record audience for the world's best-known and most respected international broadcaster, according to figures announced today.
The new weekly audience figure, compiled from independent surveys around the globe, is an increase of 14 million on last year's figure of 149 million.The new figure equates to around 50 per cent more listeners than any comparable international broadcaster.
This new figure smashes the previous BBC World Service record audience of 153 million in 2001.
BBC World Service Director Nigel Chapman says: "This record-breaking audience is an outstanding achievement against the background of fierce competition, fast-developing technology and rapidly changing audience demands in many media markets.
"The challenges ahead for BBC World Service remain formidable, as they do for all broadcasters, but this is a strong and welcome indication that we are not only strengthening our impact in priority areas but are flourishing in the multimedia age."