The BBC reaches an audience of 492 million around the world every week
The BBC reaches an audience of 492 million around the world every week AFP News

Global media giant the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) celebrates turning 100 on Tuesday with one eye on its illustrious past and another on its uncertain future.

Over a century, the BBC has established itself as one of Britain's most visible and respected global brands, delivering its original mission statement to "inform, educate and entertain".

The broadcaster reaches an audience of 492 million around the world every week, according to the corporation's 2021-2022 annual report.

BBC World Service broadcasts in 41 languages to about 364 million people a week globally.

"For a century, the BBC has been a beacon of trusted news and programming across the world, as well as being part of the fabric of the UK and one of its key institutions," BBC director-general Tim Davie said of the landmark.

"It has been a story of a devotion to public service and constant reinvention -- which those in the BBC today remain utterly committed to," he added.

For nearly seven million people, each day starts with BBC Radio 4's flagship "Today" programme, which often sets the political agenda.

At weekends, "Strictly Come Dancing", which pairs celebrities with professional ballroom dancers, has had viewers glued to their sets for 20 years and is the most talked-about television programme on air.

BBC series such as "Peaky Blinders", "Fleabag" and "Killing Eve" have been exported around the world.

But the centenary comes at a time of uncertainty, with drastic budget cuts and changing viewing habits driven by the digital revolution raising questions about its future.

The government in January announced it would freeze the BBC's licence-fee funding model for two years, raising fears it could be scrapped in future.

The annual charge for households with a television set is currently set at ?159 ($176).

The financial situation has been accompanied by an exodus of younger audiences towards streaming and on-demand platforms, prompting questions about why they should still pay for the BBC.

But BBC chairman Richard Sharp vowed that the broadcaster would "educate and entertain for another century."

"The BBC is one hundred today -- it's a time to celebrate, but also to embrace the future," said Sharp.

"I believe its best days are ahead. We have always innovated, changed and adapted," he added.

"By continuing to put the public first, we will continue to inform, educate and entertain for another century."