The BBC has introduced advertising to its language websites, launching the service on its Hausa offering, which is one of the most widely spoken languages in West Africa. Glenda Nevill reports.
“The bbcswahili.com and bbcafrique.com online sites will be set live in the next wave of commercialisation of BBC World Service language sites. They will be followed by bbcsomali.com and bbcgahuza.com (Great Lakes in Kinyarwarnda/Kirundi),” says Isla Macleod, digital business development director for EMEA countries at BBC Worldwide.
“Out of BBC World Service’s 28 language sites, six provide local and international news in languages spoken on the continent: Arabic, French, Hausa, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Somali and Swahili,” she explains. Other sites that carry advertising content are bbcarabic.com, bbcbrasil.com (in Portuguese), bbchindi.com, bbcmundo.com (in Spanish), bbcrussian.com and bbcturkish.com.
Macleod says bbchausa.com has a significant reach which certainly interests market advertisers. “We consider a variety of factors prior to enabling the sites for advertising, such as the reach on various devices and the maturity of the advertising market. The BBC Arabic website bbcarabic.com, which was among the very first World Service language websites to carry advertising outside the UK, gets over 15% of its traffic from the continent: mainly from North Africa, of course, but also from sub-Saharan Africa.”
Macleod says the BBC’s foreign language sites reach around 47 million unique browsers monthly. Top performing sites in terms of monthly unique browsers (UBs) (Direct traffic – Site Catalyst April 15*) are: bbcmundo.com, bbcbrasil.com, bbchausa.com, bbcpersian.com and bbcrussian.com (all based on April 2015 stats).
The BBC World Service’s decision to drive the commercialisation of its African media assets is due to the growth on the continent.
“BBC World Service reaches a global audience of 210 million weekly on TV, radio and online. Of these, 87.8 million are in Africa,” says Macleod. “By introducing advertising to our language websites, BBC World Service aims to generate revenue that can be reinvested in high-quality journalism as well as innovative technology – all for the benefit of our audiences.”
bbchausa.com alone has a monthly reach of 3.5m unique visitors and 68.6m PV’s. (Source: *Adobe SiteCatalyst Dec14 to Feb15 all platforms excluding the UK and excluding traffic via syndication partners). “With over 95% of its traffic is coming via mobile devices, bbchausa.com has been among the first African websites to implement a ‘mobile first’ strategy in the creation of its online content,” she says.
Macleod says the its ‘mobile first’ approach offers mobile users an optimal viewing experience and the ability to deliver stories faster. “In a wider sense, BBC Hausa is a strong, established, trusted brand, with a weekly radio audience of 17.7 million. The BBC sites (bbchausa.com and bbc.com) have the highest reach of all news sites in Nigeria.”
The BBC Hausa website, says its editor, Mansur Liman, the “destination of choice for Hausa-speakers, wherever they are, with its offer of up-to-the minute news, features and analysis, bringing to life developments in Nigeria, Niger, Ghana and Cameroon and around the world. As our website starts carrying adverts, its editorial content will continue to stand out for its truly independent and impartial news coverage presenting all sides of the story. This new development will provide the opportunity to invest further in the site for the benefit of audiences.”
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