UPDATED: BBC World Service Radio Secures $381 Million
The public broadcaster's global radio offering corals 2014 budget pledge after U.K. government funding stops at end of 2013.
LONDON -- BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten pledged $381 million (£245 million) to the public broadcaster's global radio offering, the World Service.
The broadcaster's radio service, one of the corporation's global news services and program carrier, got the funding greenlight -- an increase of $8 million (£5 million) a year on current levels -- from the BBC Trust.
The move comes as the service switches funding from central government to being paid for by proceeds from the BBC Licence Fee from 2014.
The Foreign and Commonwealth office will no longer fund the service from the end of this financial year.
Patten, a long-standing supporter of the World Service, heralded the decision to boost budgets as giving the World Service "a far greater degree of financial security, from which it can continue to provide its much-needed and valued services for audiences around the world."
Added Patten: "From 1 April 2014 the total budget for the World Service from the licence fee will be £245 million, an increase of over £5 million a year on the new level of grant now being provided from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office."
The boost to funding from the BBC Trust comes in the wake of a cut from the Government.
World Service director Peter Horrocks said: "This is the fourth 'one-off' funding cut in four years. The World Service is determined that this unexpected cut should not damage existing services to audiences so there will be no cuts to output nor reductions in editorial teams as a result. But we will not be able to invest in new programs and platforms as planned. The BBC Trust's announcement of next year’s World Service budget confirms we will be better protected under the licence fee. International broadcasting is a business that needs long-term strategy and consistent funding support."
In February of this year, English-language radio broadcasts by the World Service were "jammed" in China, forcing the BBC to suggest that the country was to blame.
And the radio service's Persian-language offering in Iran was also blocked in 2013.
The World Service has a worldwide weekly audience of 239 million listeners.