The British Broadcasting Corporation, which is usually known simply as the BBC, is the world's largest broadcasting corporation. It has 28,000 employees in the United Kingdom alone and an annual budget of more than £4 billion.
Founded on 18 October 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd, it was subsequently granted a Royal Charter and made a state-owned corporation in 1927. The corporation produces programmes and information services, broadcasting globally on television, radio, and the Internet. The stated mission of the BBC is "to inform, educate and entertain" (as laid down by Parliament in the BBC Charter); its motto is "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation".
The BBC is a quasi-autonomous public corporation as a public service broadcaster. The Corporation is run by the BBC Trust; and is, per its charter, "free from both political and commercial influence and answers only to its viewers and listeners".
The BBC's domestic programming and broadcasts are primarily funded by levying television licence fees (under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949), although money is also raised through commercial activities such as sale of merchandise and programming. The BBC World Service, however, is funded through a grant-in-aid by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As part of the BBC Charter, the Corporation cannot show commercial advertising on any services in the United Kingdom (television, radio, or internet). Outside the United Kingdom the BBC broadcasts commercially funded channels such as BBC America, BBC Canada, and BBC World. In order to justify the licence fee, the BBC is expected to produce a number of high-rating showsdate=October 2007 in addition to programmes that commercial broadcasters would not normally broadcast. Another nickname, now less commonly used, is "Auntie", said to originate from the old-fashioned "Auntie knows best" attitude, (but possibly a sly reference to the 'aunties' and 'uncles' who were presenters of children's programmes in early days) in the days when John Reith, the BBC's founder, was in charge. The two nicknames have also been used together as "Auntie Beeb", and Auntie has been used in outtakes programmes such as Auntie's Bloomers.
It is also the largest news gathering system by means of its newsgathering operation, BBC Newsgathering, which includes various regional offices, foreign correspondents and agreements with other news services. It reaches more than 200 countries and is available to more than 274 million households, to CNN's (its nearest competitor) estimated 200 million. Its radio service is in the short wavelength, which makes it available to many regions of the world. It also broadcasts news - by radio or over the Internet - in some 30 languages.
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