The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is planning a television counterpart to its highly respected radio World Service. Starting next year it hopes to beam pilot news and current affairs bands around the world using space satellites. The project, which has been four years in the making, aims to make available to audiences in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America a daily program that would include a television news bulletin followed by news analysis.
At present the BBC's World Service on radio offers a daily service that includes around-the-clock news bulletins and a variety of high-grade current affairs programs such as ``Twenty-Four Hours'' and ``The World Today.''
Initially there would be one 30-minute telecast each day. If the project is successful, the programming would be steadily increased.
BBC external radio programs are funded by the British Foreign Office under an arrangement that enables programmers to operate without political interference from the British govermnemt.
The BBC management will ask the Foreign Office to pay for the initial pilot project, on the understanding that when the new service gets fully underway it will be largely self-financing. The BBC hopes to achieve this by negotiating arrangements with television stations and cable TV companies around the world under which they will help meet the total cost.
The Foreign Office is showing much interest in the project, which, like the existing World Service on radio, would be intended to give unbiased coverage of world affairs.
The present format for BBC External Service radio programs usually involves a bulletin of world news followed by three or four analysis items arising from the news.
For example, ``Twenty-Four Hours'' contains a 10-minute bulletin followed by 20 minutes of interviews with BBC correspondants.
If the new television service is successful in its pilot phase, regular global telecasts will probably begin sometime in 1987.