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.
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 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.
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 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,.
Other live programmes:
Pre recorded programmes include:
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.
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
Cox Communications - Channel 252 (Northern Virginia)
Grande Communications - Channel 122 (Texas)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.