Mumbai, Dec 20: The BBC Worldwide Service on Wednesday said its plan to launch services in 11 new languages, four of them Indian - Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati and Punjabi - was progressing well and they would be operational by mid-2017. The services in the four Indian languages, which will focus on radio, mobile and video content, will create 157 new jobs, the London-headquartered broadcaster said.
Addressing the media at the Mumbai Press Club, Indu Shekhar Sinha, Head of Business Development (Asia Pacific), BBC Worldwide Service, said, "We, as a broadcaster, are going to launch services in Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi with focus on radio services, mobile and video content, thus opening the vacancies 157 new jobs in India. "This is certainly one of our biggest expansions till date and is the part of our centenary project 2022." The services would be operational by the middle of next year, he said.
Our plans also include the expansion of BBC's digital services to offer more mobile and video content and a greater social media presence, which has become a must for a media house, Sinha added. The new language services mean the BBC World Service will be available in 40 languages, including English, up from the current 29 languages. The broadcaster has set a target for the BBC to reach 500 million people worldwide by its centenary in 2022, up from the current 320 million audience.
"We have set several benchmarks in the field of journalism, brining the best of our independent, impartial journalism and worldclass entertainment to over half a billion people around the world," he said. The BBC currently offers its content in Hindi, Bengali and Tamil with an audience of 23 million. Rupa Jha, Desk Editor at BBC Worldwide, outlined the editorial inputs for the upcoming websites. "We won't be rushing to break stories or for routine stories, but to go extrapolate and investigate the other side of the story, which is one of the style of reporting." The expansion is result of a funding boost announced by the UK Government last year. Other new services to be added include African languages of Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya, Igbo, Pidgin and Yoruba as well as Korean.