The BBC's new Urdu TV programme Sairbeen has built a weekly TV audience of 5.6 million since it launched on Pakistan's Aaj News channel, a new survey has found. BBC Urdu also has the highest reach on radio among international broadcasters in Pakistan.
Sairbeen was launched in its current format in March 2014 and is broadcast Monday to Friday. In addition to the impressive audience, Sairbeen has also reinforced the BBC's reputation for trust. Niney four percent of viewers who were surveyed saw it as trustworthy. The programme is also seen as relevant and good at providing a Pakistani perspective on big global events (80 percent).
Streamed live and available on demand online via bbcurdu.com, Sairbeen TV programme can also be watched on BBC Urdu channel on YouTube. The dramatic, tenfold increase in views on this channel over the past year is largely due to the programme's popularity, while exclusive interviews and a dedicated mobile offering have also contributed. Although YouTube is blocked in Pakistan, a large proportion of BBC Urdu viewers are still watching in that country.
On radio the survey found that more people tune in to the BBC Urdu radio in Pakistan than to any other international radio broadcaster. The survey also found that the BBC continues to be considered the most trusted, relevant and objective international broadcaster in Pakistan.
BBC Urdu's online presence has also seen a significant growth the last year, with peaks during major local and international stories. The number of users coming to bbcurdu.com via social media has grown threefold over the last year*. With over 2.9 million followers, the BBC Urdu page on Facebook has nearly tripled over the same period.
BBC Urdu Editor Aamer Ahmed Khan comments: "The survey findings and the latest digital stats summarise a very productive period for the BBC Urdu content on all platforms. Sairbeen TV programme is bringing us a very valued new audience via Aaj News channel. Our radio programming continues to be essential listening for international news-seekers across Pakistan – and our online and social-media presence is rapidly growing, connecting us with new, younger audiences. And all this is underpinned by trust in the BBC's output. These are very reassuring and inspiring findings."
BBC Urdu is part of BBC World Service.