Monday, May 19, 2008

Worldwide audiences for US international broadcasting increases

US international broadcasting now reaches over 175 million people weekly, up from 155 million in 2007 and a 75 percent increase since 2001. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman James Glassman announced the new global audience estimate on 15 May in a speech delivered at the Heritage Foundation.
“There are still huge expanses of the planet where governments keep the truth from their citizens – even when the truth can save their lives … what we do is needed more than ever. Our broadcasters provide provocative, accurate, supportive, high-quality content.”
BBG broadcasters include the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí).
In his speech, Glassman pointed to recent events in Burma and Tibet. VOA and RFA warned the Burmese people of the potential severity of cyclone Nargis days before official Burmese media, and both broadcasters provided breaking news coverage of pro-democracy protests in Tibet in March and the subsequent Chinese crackdown.
The BBG global audience estimate is based on measured audiences from independent surveys conducted worldwide in accordance with industry-standard research methods. Audience gains in Indonesia, Nigeria, and Syria, in particular, helped drive the increase.
Weekly audience is one element in a wide range of quantitative and qualitative data scrutinized by BBG to ensure continued delivery of high-quality content.
“Our research probes questions such as whether our audiences trust our news and whether our broadcasts are helping to improve their understanding of their world and America,” Glassman said. “On those two counts – and on less tangible measures – the BBG is performing well.”
The full text of Glassman’s speech is available on the BBG website.
(Source: Broadcasting Board of Governors/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)