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BBC World Service Television (WSTV) was the name given to two of the BBC's international satellite television channels between 1991 and 1994. It was the BBC's first foray into international broadcasting. In Europe, it was the successor of BBC TV Europe, replaced on March 11, 1991, but with minor differences. Whereas in Asia, BBC WSTV was a 24-hour news and information service and a precursor to BBC World News, launched in Asia on October 14, 1991.

Unlike BBC World Service, it was not funded by the British government with a grant-in-aid, instead, it was funded by commercial advertising. Commercials were insterted locally by the cable or satellite providers. In the years that followed, the BBC would insert news headlines and other updates to fill the gaps, now commonly known as the break fillers.


In Europe, BBC WSTV was the BBC's subscription-funded entertainment service, which replaced BBC TV Europe, on March 11, 1991. Like BBC TV Europe, it was a mix of BBC1 and BBC2, but showed specially commissioned World Service News bulletins in place of the BBC's domestic ones. The World Service News studio looked like the BBC's domestic news, though graphics and the on-screen logo broke the illusion.

Outside Europe

Outside Europe, BBC WSTV was the name of the 24-hour news, information and current affairs service, launched in Asia on October 14, 1991, on STAR TV, available from Turkeymarker to South Koreamarker on AsiaSat. Competing against CNN International, it showed current affairs and documentary programming from BBC One and BBC Two, in addition to World Service News.

Following STAR TV's acquisition by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, BBC WSTV was removed from the satellite beam that broadcast into Chinamarker in 1994[104327], although it could still be received in the rest of Asia, particularly Indiamarker.

Some WSTV programming was also carried in Africa on M-Net, and in Canadamarker on CBC Newsworld.

Rebranding and reorganisation

In 1 January 1994, the news and information service was rebranded BBC World, and the subscription-funded entertainment service became BBC Prime, which was phased out to become BBC Entertainment.

See also

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