The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included. The BBC is established under a Royal Charter and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee which is charged to all British households, companies, and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts and iPlayer catch-up. The fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament, and used to fund the BBC's radio, TV, and online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. Since 1 April 2014, it has also funded the BBC World Service (launched in 1932 as the BBC Empire Service), which broadcasts in 28 languages and provides comprehensive TV, radio, and online services in Arabic and Persian. Around a quarter of BBC's revenue comes from its commercial subsidiary BBC Studios Ltd (formerly BBC Worldwide), which sells BBC programmes and services internationally and also distributes the BBC's international 24-hour English-language news services BBC World News, and from BBC.com, provided by BBC Global News Ltd. From its inception, through the Second World War (where its broadcasts helped to unite the nation), to the 21st century, the BBC has played a prominent role in British culture. It is also known colloquially as "The Beeb", "Auntie", or a combination of both (as "Auntie Beeb" or "Auntie B").
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