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India one of the most important markets for us, says Chris Davies of BBC Global News

BBC World News and the BBC website saw a huge jump in viewership and the global news giant now plans to bring news and content more relevant for the Indian market

Akansha Mihir Mota | Mumbai | September 7, 2016

Chris Davies Chris Davies

Growing strong globally and in India both digitally and on television, news provider BBC is eyeing the huge Indian market and plans specific content for the audience here.

During this year’s Rio Olympics, the BBC Sport page on Facebook helped add 0.2 million viewers. On the other hand, Olympic stories gathered 1.1 million unique browsers and 2.7 million page views in India during the Olympics on BBC Sports Page.

According to ComScore Digital Analytics, India, the average daily unique browsers went up by 111 per cent while page views increased by 95 per cent for the sports page. For the sports app, average daily unique browsers went up by 20 per cent while page views increased by 51 per cent.

Chris Davies, Director of Sales, Marketing and Distribution, BBC Global News, sees huge opportunity in India in terms of growth. He said, “India is one of the most important markets for us across both TV and online. We make it sure that the content we are providing is relevant across the market. India has one of the biggest bureaus outside London. We present global stories in the way Indian audience likes. As our audience develops, our revenues would also increase.”

The global news giant is witnessing a shift in India with more and more people moving towards the digital front. People are using mobiles to stay updated and spend a lot on social media. India is the biggest market for its Facebook page globally.

BBC World News launched an app recently. There were 440,000 downloads on iOS and 1.4 million downloads on Android in India. The app is at the top in international app download in India.

The company launched a marketing campaign for version three of the app. It will come up with an extension of the app called ‘Ten To Watch’. Explaining the idea behind the extension, Davies said, “It would cover 10 stories that you need to know in a day. It will curate the top 10 stories from the website and put it on the app. All the 10 stories would be just a minute-long news pieces.”

According to What’s on India reports, BBC World Networks reaches approximately 35 million cable and satellite homes in India. In July 2016, the channel had one million monthly impressions while the monthly reach was 6.7 million, according to BARC data. The news channel has a strategy in place to penetrate various demographics in India. BBC is available in four Indian languages through its news website and plans to increase its reach by coming out in more languages.

India is the biggest place for the channel where it has most of its social media engagements but it also throws up a few challenges as it’s an open forum where people can comment.

On dealing with the social media challenges, Davies said, “We manage the content and take care of what is being posted on the social media front from the users end. We need to take care of the quality of the brand in the social space as well as our own space. We have more control on the user-generated content. We are an impartial news services provider. We provide a story looking at all angles.”

BBC Global news doesn’t have any particular target audience but the trend suggests that the youth is turning towards the news provider. A report by The GlobalWebIndex suggests that BBC.com and and BBC World News reaches out to more than three quarters (77 per cent) of affluent millennials in India each month. BBC.com is the number one international news website in India for affluent millennials.

Explaining the reason behind the affluent youth in reaching out to BBC, Davies said, “We have a very good story in this sphere. I think this comes from the quality of news that we bring and the relevance to the Indian market. Social media helps us to reach them more. That is the target audience we are developing without losing the other age group.”

Davies has a very strong viewpoint on the company’s position in India. He said, “We are one of the international news providers in India. We are in kind of a premium news space. Through our language services, we are trying to reach to most of the Indians.”

On dealing with competition thrown by domestic news channels in India, Davies said, “It is a very cluttered and competitive market. We have to make sure that we have content that stands out. We have our strengths in place though. We are a brand of quality, impartiality and integrity and the audience needs to understand that we have those.”

Davies has a piece of advice for the Indian news market, he said, “The news agenda in India should really think about not just telling people what is happening in the world, but also what the world thinks of India and take India out to rest of the world.”

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