BBC launches new 24-hour channel to replace World News

Little fanfare as channels covering UK and world news merge

The changes come amid a wider BBC shake-up involving as many as 1,000 job losses. PA
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The BBC on Monday launched its new 24-hour news channel, bringing together its UK and global coverage.

It brings an end to the BBC World News channel after 28 years.

The merged channel is called BBC News.

There was no fanfare on the channel as presenter Lewis Vaughan-Jones hosted the final seconds of BBC World News.

After updating viewers on the death of a pro-Kremlin blogger in Russia, he signed off: “This is BBC News, bye-bye.”

Taking over on the new channel, presenter Ben Thompson began with the words: “Live from London, this is BBC News.”

The first report was a 10-minute segment on the Russian Wagner Group’s apparent capture of Bakhmut from Ukraine.

The BBC said changes to the rolling news channel would be made gradually.

Viewers should not expect any kind of “big bang”, said its digital director Naja Nielsen.

She said there would be more live reporting by journalists and more efforts to show how stories are sourced.

“We’re going to make sure we tell audiences the most important thing that’s happening in the world at any time,” she said.

The single channel will, at times, have different feeds which mean UK and international viewers see different content.

Viewers outside the UK will see commercial adverts during breaks.

The changes come amid a wider BBC shake-up involving as many as 1,000 job losses.

Funding cuts have forced the closure of foreign-language radio stations such as BBC Arabic.

The BBC’s World Service Television launched in 1991 and was renamed BBC World in 1996, then BBC World News in 2008.

The news segment Outside Source is being retired as part of the merger.

Presenter Ros Atkins said its work would continue despite the title being dropped.

“We’re not disappearing, I promise,” he said.

The new channel will be broadcast from London during UK daytime hours and otherwise from Washington or Singapore.

Media regulator Ofcom said last year it would ask the BBC to ensure it “continues to provide high-quality UK news”.

It said it could impose conditions on the BBC’s operating licence if it had “concerns” about UK news provision.

Updated: April 03, 2023, 10:46 AM