In more recent years, the BBC has greatly expanded its digital broadcasting and Internet services.
HOW BIG IS IT?
Today, the organization says it reaches a weekly audience of 166 million people globally over multiple platforms, including radio, digital satellite and cable channels.
The BBC boasts 10 national TV channels in addition to regional U.K. programming, 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations and a website which averages 3.6 billion hits a month.
The BBC World Service broadcasts globally on radio, TV and online, providing news and information in almost 30 languages. The broader organization, meanwhile, cranks out TV gold such as science fiction series "Doctor Who" and long-running soap "EastEnders."
Its commercial arm, BBC World News, broadcasts 24 hours a day in more than 200 countries and territories.
HOW DOES IT DO IT — AND AT WHAT COST?
Most of the BBC's services in the U.K. are funded by a tax on households that have televisions or watch TV on computers or other devices, while profits from commercial ventures such as BBC Worldwide and BBC World News are used to invest in new programming and services.
Still, rival broadcasters in the past have complained that the BBC has used public money to fund types of programs supplied by commercial operators, ditching its public service mission in a quest for viewers.
Under pressure from critics to justify its 3.5 billion pound ($5.6 billion) budget in a time of austerity, the BBC in recent years has undergone a series of job cuts, cuts to operations and unpopular changes to employee pension programs.
Most of those changes were ushered in by Mark Thompson, who preceded Entwistle as BBC director general. Thompson is to assume the role of chief executive of The New York Times Co. on Monday, but faces questions over the BBC's decision to kill the "Newsnight" program on Savile — which occurred while he was still in charge.