The award-winning 24-hour TV channel, BBC World News, is celebrating its 25th birthday this month and will mark its silver anniversary with a special on-screen look.
The English language channel originally launched with a half hour news bulletin as World Service Television (WSTV) on Monday 11th March 1991, when it replaced BBC TV Europe. At the time it inherited 700,000 subscribers but nowadays the channel is available in 433 million households across the world.
Eight months later, WSTV became a 24 hour news operation and launched in Asia – the start of its rapid growth which would eventually see it become available in more than 200 countries and territories.
In 1995 it relaunched as BBC World before changing its name to BBC World News in 2008 and moving to a new 24/7 multi-platform building dubbed ‘the world’s news room’ in 2013.
The original news team comprised of six journalists from the World Service team and six from television news. Today, BBC World News has access to the expertise of thousands of journalists based in over a hundred cities and state-of-the-art studios across the world.
Speaking about the anniversary, BBC Global News Ltd CEO Jim Egan said, “The world has changed dramatically for all of us in the past 25 years and so has the way we get news from the field to our viewers. But our commitment to providing accurate, impartial news of the highest quality to international audiences is unwavering. We’re proud that, in a world of great uncertainty and in a news industry which is every bit as volatile, BBC World News continues to grow and is the most trusted source of global television news available anywhere.
BBC World News Timeline
1991 – World Service Television launches with its first half hour bulletin across Europe. Seven months later, new deals make the channel available across Asia and the Middle East. In November, BBC World Service Television becomes a 24 hour channel.
1992 – The channel becomes available in Africa for the first time.
1995 – World Service Television relaunches as BBC World and starts a new translation service for Japanese audiences.
1996 – BBC World launches in Latin America and is awarded terrestrial frequency in Berlin, the first foreign broadcaster anywhere to be granted such a licence.
1997 – BBC News launches its website – BBC.com.
1998 – BBC World moves to the world’s first ever 24-hour fully digital newsroom and begins broadcasting bulletins on public service stations across the US.
2002 – BBC World distribution exceeds 100 million full-time homes for the first time.
2003 – BBC World becomes available full-time in United Nations headquarters in New York.
2004 – BBC World becomes available in more than a million hotel rooms globally.
2005 – BBC launches its User Generated Content Hub to address the increasing amount of footage being submitted by members of the public.
2007 – BBC World News America launches on BBC World and public television, delivering in-depth reports and analysis on major international news stories across the U.S.
2008 – BBC World changes its name to BBC World News and brings the channel closer to the BBC’s TV, radio and online and newsgathering teams.
2009 – BBC World News launches an app on tablets and smartphones in 16 European countries.
2010 – BBC World News extends its app to 15 new countries, including Australia and New Zealand.
2012 – The BBC’s commercially funded bbc.com/news and BBC World News services are merged under BBC Global News Ltd.
2013 – BBC World News relocates to a state-of-the-art multimedia newsroom alongside the World Service’s 29 language services, the BBC’s domestic news teams and all of the BBC’s London-based TV, radio, online and social media teams. The building houses 3000 journalists, production and operational staff and means that the UK and global services are co-ordinated from one location, enabling colleagues to share production and coverage of breaking stories around the world.
Two brand new HD studios transform the range and quality of output, offering full HD production, virtual reality and enhanced graphics. Robotic cameras mounted on a track give programmes dynamic movement, fluidity and an exciting range of camera shots.
2014 – BBC is identified as a leader in global breaking news and the most-shared news brand on Twitter. It launches Outside Source – an innovative, interactive news show for the digital age which uses state-of-the-art touch screen technology to access a plethora of visual, aural and social media sources which bring the latest stories of the day to life.
2015 – BBC launches a new version of its international app, offering personalised news covering over 50,000 topics, and pilots new virtual voice-over technology to produce voiced and subtitled online news packages in different languages.
2016 – BBC World News celebrates its 25th anniversary with record figures of 85 million viewers per week.