A new series of Africa Beats will showcase the wonders of African music from Friday, 12 September, featuring a range of artists hailing from across the continent including South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, Mali, Madagascar, Nigeria, Western Sahara and Mozambique.
Reflecting the audience’s love of football, the importance of sport is also being recognised with the launch of the 2014 BBC African Footballer of the Year competition on Monday, 10 November and a series of bite-size videos to celebrate the return of some of the world’s most high profile football leagues.
As news breaks of the long awaited verdict in the Oscar Pistorius trial, BBC World News’ Karin Giannone will be joined by Nomsa Maseko from the BBC’s Johannesburg bureau and the BBC’s Africa Correspondent Andrew Harding to bring all the latest developments to a global audience.
The new programmes underscore the BBC’s ongoing commitment to African audiences and will complement BBC World News’ existing regular flagship TV shows - Focus on Africa, Mondays to Fridays at 19:30, which offers a daily dose of African stories with global impact, and Africa Business Report, on Fridays at 20:40, which provides an in-depth look at the continent’s biggest financial stories of the week.
Research reveals that African audiences have responded to the BBC’s increased investment in locally relevant content, with studies showing that:
The BBC now reaches 93 million people across the continent each week; BBC World News and bbc.com reach nearly half of Africa’s affluent population; and BBC.com has 10 million unique browsers per month in Africa, with 4.5 million of these coming via mobile devices.
Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News Ltd said, “As a predominantly news-based channel, our main purpose is to break the stories that matter to our audiences in Africa and around the world and the evidence shows that we are the leaders in that field. But we are also proud of our ability to invest in world-class programmes which go beyond the headlines and get to the heart of the places we broadcast to; to examine their people, their ways of life and their achievements. Our aim is for the richness of our programming to both showcase and reflect Africa’s cultural and creative contribution to the world.”
Over the past year the BBC has greatly enhanced its news offering for audiences in the region with several new African presenters and correspondents, the launch of programmes such as Africa Business Report on BBC World News, the trial of chat apps to enhance coverage of major news events and the creation of a dedicated business unit to support its network of 150 reporters and producers in 46 countries. In addition, the BBC World Service offers unmatched local language coverage with services in Hausa, Swahili, Somali, Kiryarwanda, Kirundi and Arabic. It has also recently opened a state-of-the-art bureau in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to deliver news across radio, television and digital mobile services for east Africans and across the continent.
In another move to offer African audiences the most relevant news provision of any international news broadcaster, BBC Hausa recently launched daily news alerts via Blackberry’s BBM service in its largest market, Nigeria. The service, which caters for the 96% of bbchausa.com traffic that comes via its mobile website, allows users to receive up to five BBC Hausa news alerts daily, each with shareable story links.
Stella is the founder of WaAfrikaOnline. A Pan-African at heart, passionate about Africa, human rights, women empowerment and girl child education. She's also into broadcasting.