news bulletin

BBC World News

For the programme aired at 5.00 British time on BBC News, see BBC World News (programme).

BBC World News is the BBC's international news and current affairs television channel. It has the biggest audience of any BBC channel. Founded in 1991 as BBC World Service Television (the name was changed to BBC World in 1995 and to BBC World News in 2008) it broadcasts for 24 hours with programming including BBC News bulletins, documentaries, lifestyle programmes and interviews. Its main global competitor is CNN International, though it also competes with other major news broadcasting companies. It employs more correspondents and reporters than any other news channel and has more international bureaus. It is the world's most watched news channel, ahead of CNN, and also one of the most watched channels in the world.

The channel is transmitted by Red Bee Media from their network centre at the Broadcast Centre, part of the BBC Media Village, part of the BBC White City, in White City, west London. All news output originates from studio N8 in the nearby Television Centre. The BBC World News Newsroom is part of the BBC's Global News Hub, set up in the summer of 2008. The BBC World News newsroom provides output throughout the day. From 0100-0500 the channel BBC News is also based in this studio.

Although the BBC World News studio produces output in 16:9 SDTV in line with the rest of BBC News, the channel is currently transmitted in 4:3. The news output is converted into a 14:9 frame for both digital and analogue broadcasting, resulting in black bands at the top and bottom of the screen. There are plans to offer the channel in 16:9 in 2008.

BBC World News was named Best International News Channel at the Association for International Broadcasting Awards in November 2006.

In April 2008 the channel changed its name to "BBC World News" from BBC World as part of a £550,000 rebranding of the BBC's news output, including a new visual identity. The channel later moved into the rennovated former studio of the BBC News channel.


The channel originally launched as BBC World Service Television, though unlike BBC World Service radio which has always been government funded, the British government refused to extend the Foreign Office grant-in-aid. It was launched on March 11 1991, after 2 weeks of real time pilots, initially as a half-hour bulletin once a day at 1900 GMT. The programme editor was Johan "John" Ramsland. The original picture editing team consisted of Bob Scholes, Peter Hodge & Mike Casey.

In 1995 BBC World Service Television split into two stations: BBC Prime - an encrypted entertainment channel requiring subscription, and the free to air BBC World concentrating on news and current affairs. Since 1995, the service has gone through several branding changes. From 1995 to 1997, the channel used few graphics to display the name of the channel, with the actual news studio modelled on that used for BBC News in the United Kingdom.

As part of the major relaunch of the image of the BBC including a new logo for the corporation in 1997, the channel received its first main refresh. Various fictional flags with some real were used. The idents were computer generated and developed by the Lambie-Nairn design agency.

Another large 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, a departure from the general orchestral versions of other news programmes.

In 2003 and 2004 a second makeover, using the same 'drums and beeps' style music but new graphics took place, although on a much smaller scale to that of 1999. The music was changed slightly while the main colour scheme became black and red, with studios using a frosted glass, white and red design for colourings. Later in 2004 the channel's slogan became Putting News First, replacing Demand a Broader View.

In 2008 the channel was renamed BBC World News. New graphics were produced by the Lambie-Nairn design agency, accompanied with reworked music from David Lowe.


BBC World News is most commonly watched as an free-to-air (FTA) Channel. The channel is available FTA in Italy, via digital terrestrial television, and in all parts of Europe and many parts of the world FTA via satellite. (It was also available via terrestrial FTA in Berlin from c. 2000 to March 2007). Although not officially available in the UK it is available to people who point their satellite dishes at Astra 1, Hot Bird and Thor. In most of the world, it is carried on nearly all satellite and cable platforms.

BBC World News is available online through the website of Dong-a Ilbo, a Korean newspaper, but this stream cannot necessarily be viewed from all countries (inaccessible from the USA as of October 2007).

It is also available online through the subscription service RealPlayer Plus and online live streaming service Jalipo. In Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates it is additionally available as a subscription mobile phone service, having also been available as a terrestrial channel.

A daily version of its news bulletins are also rebroadcast on many FTA terrestrial channels like in New Zealand, where it is carried overnight on TV ONE, and in Trinidad and Tobago where it is carried overnight on TV6.

In Europe, analogue satellite broadcasting via Hot Bird 6 ceased on 18 April 2006 at midday, although its digital free-to-air signal is replicated on Hot Bird 6, Hot Bird 7A, Thor 2 and on Astra 1KR.

It is also available 24/7 in Australia on Foxtel, Austar and Optus Television as well as the 3 mobile phone network. In New Zealand, it is also broadcast via satellite on SKY Network Television and via cable on TelstraClear.

In Asia, it was originally carried on STAR TV, the pan-Asian satellite television service based in Hong Kong, which was later acquired by Rupert Murdoch, but switched to PanAmSat in 1996. It is also available on Astro in Malaysia. In India it was FTA till 15 June 2006 but is now a pay channel.

BBC World News has been available in Africa on DStv since late 1995, and its bulletins have also been rebroadcast on South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) terrestrial channels in South Africa. In 1996, it became available in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In Canada, the channel is available on Bell TV and Star Choice satellite services, as well as on most digital cable services. Shaw Cable and Rogers Cable carry the channel as part of their analogue cable packages.

BBC World News is not widely available on cable/satellite services in the United States, but a 2006 agreement with Discovery Networks (which is a partner in BBC America) announced it would seek distribution for the channel. American viewers are still able to watch select BBC World bulletins on BBC America and over 200 PBS stations. For more distribution information, please refer to the paragraph below - "BBC World in the USA."


Regular presenters

George Alagiah, Mishal Husain, Nik Gowing, Zeinab Badawi and Philippa Thomas present the five editions of World News Today, with Thomas being based in Washington. Tanya Beckett presents the business edition of World News Today. Other regular presenters on the channel, fronting the rolling news bulletins, are Jonathan Charles, David Eades, Lucy Hockings, Mike Embley, Alastair Yates, Deborah MacKenzie, Karin Giannone, James Dagwell and Martine Croxall. Matt Frei presents BBC World News America.

Regular relief and weekend presenters on the channel include Anya Sitaram, Peter Dobbie Tim Willcox, Maryam Moshiri, Jannat Jalil, David Jessel, Geeta Guru-Murthy, Kirsty Lang, Tanya Beckett, Lindsay Brancher, Lyse Doucet, Nisha Pillai, Katty Kay (based in Washington), and Martine Dennis,.

Business presenters include Sara Coburn, Aaron Hazlehurst, Jamie Robertson, Sally Bundock, Juliette Foster and Sally Eden.

Sport presenters on the channel include Robin Bailey, Amanda Davies, Celina Hinchcliffe, Francis Collings, Mike Bushell, Adnan Nawaz, Sean Fletcher, Rob Bonnet and Amelia Harris.

Former Presenters on the channel include Peter Coe, Stephen Cole (now with Al Jazeera English), and Adrian Finighan (now with CNN International).


BBC World News has occasionally made mistakes, as in the incident where on the twentieth anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, 3 December 2004, BBC World was duped into broadcasting an interview with a hoaxer (later revealed to have been Andy Bichlbaum, a member of The Yes Men) claiming to be a representative of Dow Chemical Company offering a US$12,000,000,000 settlement to the 120,000 surviving victims of the Bhopal disaster. Upon discovery of the hoax, the BBC's Press Office immediately put out a statement regarding what had happened and the story was dropped from subsequent BBC World News bulletins and those on the 24 hour UK news channel, BBC News.


Live News Programmes:

  • BBC World News For most of the day the channel produces 26 minute bulletins of international news beginning at the top of each hour. Each contain two breaks which are either filled by advertising or by continuing news depending on the region. The 2300GMT edition is also broadcast on CBC Newsworld in Canada. Some editions are rebroadcast via PBS stations in the USA. Each day during the overnight hours in the UK (0100-0500 local time), twenty-five minute news bulletins from the top of each hour on the channel are produced by and simulcast on BBC News, when they are simply identified as "BBC News" with no reference to any channel. During these overnight hours, the bulletins are usually presented from the domestic channel's studio (although the 'World' studio is sometimes utilised).
  • BBC World News at 0500 GMT Transmitted at 0500 GMT time, an hour of News, Business and sport, which is also transmitted on the main domestic BBC network BBC One and the BBC News Channel.
  • World News Today Transmitted at 0200, 1100, 1300, 1600, 1800 and 2100 GMT, launched in July 2006, to coincide with the launch of BBC World as an independent channel in the United States, the 1200 GMT edition was launched to appeal to the breakfast audience in the country and is presented by George Alagiah. The 1900 edition is aimed at European audiences and launched on the 29 May 2007. It is presented by Zeinab Badawi. It replaced the 2100 edition which had run since 18 September 2006. The first half hour is broadcast on the BBC's domestic channel BBC Four. The 1600 Asia Edition is presented by Nik Gowing. The 0300 GMT edition launched on Tuesday 2nd October 2007. It is double headed, presented by Philippa Thomas in Washington and Martine Croxall or Karin Giannone in London. Business news comes from Rico Hizon in Singapore. This edition is also broadcast in the UK on BBC News. Most editions of World News Today include a short version of World Business Report and the 2100 GMT edition is a business edition presented by Tanya Beckett in London with other presenters from New York and Singapore. The 1300 GMT edition debutted on 7 July 2008 and is presented by Mishal Hussain where in lieu of World Business Report, Sport Today is inserted during the 2nd half of the show.
  • BBC World News America Launched on 2 October 2007, the programme is broadcast at 0000 GMT from the BBC's Washington Studios. The main presenter is Matt Frei with former Washington anchor Katty Kay acting as Washington correspondent. The programme is broadcast on BBC America who provide much of the funding. The editor is Rome Hartman who was previously executive producer at the CBS Evening News.

Business Programmes:

  • World Business Report International Business news. Live editions throughout the day between 0530 and 2300 GMT. The 2230 edition is presented from London and New York. This edition is repeated several times between 2330 and 0500 GMT and the repeats can also be seen in the UK via BBC News at separate times.
  • Asia Business Report Broadcast live from Singapore and only seen on the Asia feeds of BBC World.
  • Middle East Business Report is pre recorded and broadcast at the weekend.
  • India Business Report is pre recorded and broadcast at the weekend.

Other live programmes:

  • Asia Today - Asia-specific news broadcast from the main World Newsroom.. Transmitted live twice each day. The last edition is repeated at various times on the Asia feeds.
  • Sport Today – International Sport news. Transmitted five times each day.
  • Have Your Say - A weekly programme that allows viewers to share their thoughts and questions with guests. Also simulcasted on BBC World Service Radio.

Pre recorded programmes include:

In addition, a special half hour version of the popular BBC Two programme Top Gear airs on weekends, and other BBC documentaries such as Holidays in the Danger Zone air from time to time.

In India, many programmes tailor-made for a local audience are shown , including Question Time India, quiz show University Challenge India, India Business Report, IT India Tomorrow, Face to Face and motor show Wheels.

United States

In the United States, selected BBC World News bulletins are rebroadcast on PBS affiliates and BBC America.

Since BBC World News's inception in 1995, the BBC sought carriage for the channel on US cable and satellite systems. Due to Americans' perceived lack of interest in international news, it took 11 years for a US distribution deal to be signed, a deal with Discovery Communications that was announced on 25 January 2006. In September 2006, Cablevision in the New York City metropolitan area agreed to retransmit the channel and was the first company to carry BBC World News. The channel is part of Cablevision's iO Digital Cable service, channel 104.

BBC World News on Other Cable Systems

Verizon FiOS - Channel 92 (California, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Virginia)

Cox Communications - Channel 252 (Northern Virginia)

Grande Communications - Channel 122 (Texas)

United Kingdom

It is not officially available as a stand-alone, full-time channel in the United Kingdom, on the grounds that it carries and is funded by advertising (BBC's domestic channels are funded by a television licence fee which households and establishments with equipment capable of receiving television broadcast signals must pay), although it can be easily received due to its free-to-air status on many European satellites. The BBC inserts UK news summaries and weather forecasts in lieu of commercial breaks for any programme simulcast on BBC News Channel and BBC One.

However there is a simulcast of the 0500UK edition of BBC World News on BBC One and the BBC News channel, followed by an edition of World Business Report. This programme was previously branded as The World Today.

On weekdays BBC World News also produces a version of World News Today at 1900 British Time. The first half hour of this programme can be seen in the UK on BBC Four. The edition of the programme replaced The World, which had been broadcast as a simulcast on the channel between 2002 and 2007.

The first half hour of BBC World News America is time shifted and shown at 0030 British Time on the BBC News channel.

From 0100 British Time until BBC World News at 0500, the two channels simulcast and the half hour bulletins are branded simply BBC News. At 0300 World News Today is shown as part of the simulcast for an hour from Washington, Singapore and London. The overnight simulcast is often also broadcast on BBC One or BBC Two.

Because BBC World News is available on several European satellite systems 'free-to-air', including Astra and Hotbird, the channel is 'available' to anyone in the United Kingdom who sets up their own dish to point at one of these satellites.


BBC News has been banned in several countries primarily for reporting which has been unfavourable to the ruling government. Most notable examples have been in Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and China.

BBC World News

Half-hour BBC World News bulletins are made available to PBS stations in the United States through WLIW in New York City. 80 to 90% of Americans are able to receive them, though broadcast times vary between different localities, with it airing on several PBS stations in markets such as New York City and Washington, D.C..

On PBS stations, BBC World News does not appear with commercials (the breaks are replaced with news stories) but omits the Met Office international weather forecast at the end, replacing it with underwriting announcements. The PBS airings are tape-delayed on some stations.

BBC World News bulletins are also available on BBC America in the U.S., three times on weekday mornings (as part of a 3-hour block of BBC World News coverage), and once on weekend mornings. Met Office forecasts are removed, but commercials are included. Another BBC World News program, BBC World News America, airs on BBC America twice each evening.

BBC World News bulletins also appear on CBC Newsworld in Canada, and Access 31 in Perth, Australia.

Travellers on the Heathrow Express rail service from London Paddington to London Heathrow Airport are also treated to a specially-recorded BBC World News bulletin - introduced with a namecheck of "Welcome to BBC World News onboard the Heathrow Express" - during the fifteen minute journey. This short bulletin is updated twice a day, and is shown in both classes on LCD televisions throughout the train.

Many airlines from across the world also play pre-recorded extracts of the BBC World News, have text headlines from it or have a full bulletin available on the in-flight entertainment systems. Airlines with BBC World News include Emirates Airline, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and United Airlines. Travellers can watch the bulletins on Channel 1 shortly after take-off on British Airways flights from the United Kingdom.


BBC World News is, for the most part, the same channel all over the world — except for the commercials. However, there are some regional programming variations. For example, a number of programmes are made exclusively for regional viewings, such as Indian feeds, and The Record Europe, which is only broadcast in Europe. In addition, the Asia Business Report from Singapore is only aired in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. The rest of the world sees the World Business Report (World Business Report is shown in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, but are on at different times depending on the country. Also, Asia Business Report airs at 0130 BST worldwide.)

On most feeds of BBC World News, commercials are inserted by the cable or satellite provider similar to other channels. When a cable or satellite provider does not insert commercials, the "Breakfiller" (see right) shows promotions for upcoming programmes on the channel. During BBC News, a news story that has not been promoted airs during what would be the commercial break. This is the case on the broadband versions of BBC World News, and on versions of BBC World News aired in the United States on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations. However, there are some global commercials and sponsorships which air throughout the network.

On 11 September 2007, the break-filler underwent a major change and now more closely resembles its previous incarnations. The promotional videos now fill the entire screen and are interspersed with news and market updates, schedules, and other information. There is also no longer a unifying music composition. Instead, each 20 second promotional video uses music selected from a handful of 'themes', which have some unifying musical characteristics. The information screens, such as the 10 second plug for the website or YouTube channel, and the 15 second weather/time/coming up screens each feature their own 'theme'.

On 21 April 2008 the breakfiller went through a minor change, and now although same visual are used a new colour format was introduced of Bule and white, to match the new idents introduced as part of the revamp of BBC World News.

The hourly countdown

Since its inception, and more so since its extensive association with the BBC News channel, the countdown to the hourly news bulletin has been a feature of the channel. With music composed by David Lowe, it has changed several times over the decade.

A 'ribbon-around-the-world' countdown was used starting in February 2003, when a large scale rebranding was brought out on both BBC World News and BBC News in the UK. However, the countdowns in the latter featured some visuals of the world and the UK in the background as the countdown proceeded, while the former merely had the usual 'world-spinning' image.

A new international version of the BBC World News countdown was introduced on 5 September 2005, using many clips featured in the News 24 countdown. Content featured includes reporters and technical staff working in the field while unlike that of News 24, the countdown will end in an international location rather than a view of the BBC Television Centre. A week prior to the change, the channel's well established break-filler also switched to a new musical arrangement, without a change in its visuals.

The countdown received a new musical composition on 22 January 2007 as part of a wider refresh of BBC News bulletin titles though the visuals remained the same.

The countdown which is currently used again changed in April 2008 after the name of the channel was also changed, and the visuals and idents were also revamped, to create a new fresher look.



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