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BBC World Service marks one billion downloads

MUMBAI: The BBC World Service has surpassed one billion podcast downloads, with latest figures showing downloads of nearly 28 million a month.

The World Service is marking the milestone with a selection of 10 ‘must listen’ programmes for podcast enthusiasts around the world.

The World Service began podcasting in July 2007, when six World Service programmes were available, gaining over 1.3 million downloads in the first month. By April 2015, 78 World Service programmes were available across 11 languages including English, Arabic, Azeri, Burmese, Cantonese, Indonesian, Kinyarwanda, Nepali, Persian, Russian and Tamil, and the total downloads for that month were over 27.9 million.

BBC World Service English controller Mary Hockaday said, “This underscores that we’re seeing a resurgence in radio and audio. Podcasts help us reach new and younger audiences both in the UK and right around the world. Our distinctive output covers everything from global news, science, literature, history and business to compelling human interest stories and language learning guides, and podcasts offer a way for listeners to sample some of the best World Service content. Whatever your interest, whenever it suits you, there’s something for everyone.”

Among the most frequently downloaded World Service podcasts is Global News – the twice daily compilation of topical stories, interviews and reporting from around the world.

Since it began podcasting in August 2007, Global News has been downloaded over 322.7 million times. Documentaries, which provide an in-depth look at stories and issues from around the world, have been downloaded over 151.8 million times. Recent examples include the critically acclaimed ‘Lost Children Of The Holocaust’, which traced child holocaust survivors named in radio appeals broadcast at the end of World War Two.

And, every month, over 2 million people improve their English with BBC World Service’s most popular weekly podcast, ‘The English We Speak’. Since launch, there have been more than 77 million downloads of this podcast.

A recent addition to the World Service’s podcast offering is BBC Minute – a 60-second dynamic news summary aimed at younger audiences worldwide updated every 30 minutes.

To mark the billionth download, a list of 10 ‘unmissable’ podcasts will be available at bbcworldservice.com/ten-unmissables, providing a taster of the wide range of World Service podcasts. The list includes some of the World Service’s most distinctive content, from the ever-popular World Book Club and science series Discovery to Radio Select Persian and English-language-learning podcasts.

BBC World Service Podcasts’ must listens:

Discovery – Science documentary series looking at the most significant ideas, discoveries and trends in science. Available to download weekly on Mondays.

World Book Club – The world’s greatest authors discuss their best-known novel. Available monthly.

Documentaries – An in-depth look at stories and issues from around the world, and a chance to access landmark series from our archive.

The English We Speak – This three-minute podcast looks at a different everyday English phrase or piece of slang every week.

Global News – The best stories, interviews and on-the-spot reporting from around the world with up to 30 minutes of highlights compiled twice daily from Newshour, World Update, Newsday, The Newsroom and Outside Source.

The Inquiry – Experts analyse a pressing question from the news. Broadcast on Tuesdays.

Burmese Evening Podcast – Up-to-date news and current affairs in Burmese covering domestic and international stories. Our coverage aims to reflect diverse opinions and offers in-depth analysis of topical issues.

Radio Select Persian – A daily round-up of the most newsworthy and interesting interviews and features from BBC Persian Radio.

Business Daily – Demystifying the world of money with a daily look at the big issues facing the global economy.

Elements – A close look at chemical elements: where do we get them, what do we use them for and how do they fit into the economy?