The world's most watched channel is BBC world, a 24-hour international news and information channel. It was launched in the year 1991. The British government refused to extend the foreign office grant for this channel, unlike BBC world service radio, and so BBC World itself launched in 1995 with the split of BBC World Service Television into two stations: BBC Prime - an encrypted entertainment channel requiring subscription, and the free to air BBC World. Since then BBC has come a long way. The largest relaunch for BBC News came in 1999 with all output, both in the UK and for BBC World globally having a uniform look made up of red and cream. Music based on a style described as 'drums and beeps' was introduced, composed by David Lowe.
Its programming includes news bulletins, documentaries, lifestyle programmes and interviews. The channel is transmitted by Red Bee Media from their network centre at the Broadcast Centre, part of the BBC Media Village in White City, west London. All news output originates from the nearby Television Centre where BBC World has a newsroom and studio separate from the rest of BBC News. For most of the day the channel produces 26 minute bulletins of international news beginning at the top of each hour.
BBC entered the Indian market in the mid 1990's. It was only in 1991, that BBC, which was considered a pioneer in news reporting, was established to cater to viewers in Asia and the Middle East. In 1995, BBC World was launched in Europe and India. In India, it was aired as part of Star Network's bouquet through a distribution and marketing agreement. According to the agreement, BBC World was to be aired and marketed by the Star Network in India, along with its other channels.
BBC World began its India-specific programming soon after its launch here, with India Business Report, and others like Money wise, Wheels, Mastermind India, Face to Face and Question Time India, besides special features like Hospital and Commando. As an English-language international news channel, BBC World reaches the educated, urban-based viewer who is widely travelled and has a high disposable income. The channel claims a 56 per cent viewer ship share of international news channels and its viewer ship is increasing drastically. While the channel's peak viewing comes in the morning, from 6.30 a.m.-9.30 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to midnight, its India-specific programming and weekend offering of features and documentaries has also worked well among the viewers.
Motoring and travel, in particular, are areas that BBC World had identified as being important to its audience. The channel is already present in 54,000 hotel rooms in premium and super deluxe hotels in India, to tap international travellers, frequent flyers and business decision makers. The channel is bullish on the direct-to-home (DTH) segment and is present on both the DD Direct Plus as well as the Dish TV platform. The channel went digital in the year 2001, with better broadcast and improved reception
In February 2003, BBC World launched 'Demand a Broader View, ' its worldwide advertisement campaign in India, to increase its brand awareness. The campaign focused on the channel's claim that it provided an impartial, multi-dimensional report to viewers. Along with promotional activities, BBC World re-launched India-centric programs during prime time.It was only until 31st Jan 2007, that BBC felt was the right time to create more relevance and awareness for how international news is broadcast on BBC World. On 21 April 2008, the channel changed its name from BBC World to BBC World News.
The broadcaster has no plans to go pay in the Indian market in the near future. Internationally, the channel charges a subscription fee, but the changing dynamics of the marketplace has prompted it to remain a free-to-air channel as it already was. BBC World currently has offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, with a staff of around 35 people. A pilot project initiated in India is attempting to bring together BBC World, the news bureau and World Service radio together in one space.