Mumbai| The BBC World Service's plans to launch services in 11 new languages, four of them Indian - Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati and Punjabi - will be operational by mid-2017, according to the British broadcaster.
The new language services will be digitally-led mobile first offerings with significant TV and video output,BBC said.
"We, as a broadcaster, are going to launch services in Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi with focus on digitally-led mobile and video content, thus opening 157 new jobs in India," Indu Shekhar Sinha, Head of Business Development (Asia Pacific), BBC World Service, said at a media interaction here earlier this week.
"This is certainly one of our biggest expansions till date and is part of our centenary project 2022." The services would be operational by the middle of next year, he said.
Our plans also included the expansion of BBC's digital services to offer more mobile and video content and a greater social media presence, which has become a must for a media house, Sinha added.
The new language services mean the BBC World Service will be available in 40 languages, including English, up from the current 29 languages. The broadcaster has set a target for the BBC to reach 500 million people worldwide by its centenary in 2022, up from the current 320 million audience.
"We have set several benchmarks in the field of journalism, brining the best of our independent, impartial journalism and world class entertainment to over half a billion people around the world," he said.
The BBC currently offers its content in Hindi, Bengali and Tamil with an audience of 23 million.
Rupa Jha, Head of Indian Languages of the broadcaster, said "We won't be rushing to break stories or for routine stories, but to go extrapolate and investigate the other side of the story, which is one of the styles of reporting."
The expansion is result of a funding boost announced by the UK Government last year. Other new services to be added include African languages of Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya, Igbo, Pidgin and Yoruba as well as Korean.
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