It is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, with over 20,950 staff in total, of whom 16,672 are in public sector broadcasting; including part-time, flexible as well as fixed contract staff, the total number is 35,402.
The BBC is established under a Royal Charter and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for 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. The fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament, and used to fund the BBC's extensive radio, TV, and online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. From 1 April 2014 it also funds the BBC World Service, launched in 1932, which provides comprehensive TV, radio, and online services in Arabic and Persian, and broadcasts in 28 languages.
Around a quarter of BBC revenues come from its commercial arm BBC Worldwide Ltd. which sells BBC programmes and services internationally and also distributes the BBC's international 24-hour English language news services BBC World News and BBC.com, provided by BBC Global News Ltd.