Thursday, November 03, 2011

BBG releases plans to enhance international broadcasting

Washington, D.C., November 1, 2011 - The Broadcasting Board of Governors has released the framework of its new strategic plan to enhance the global impact of U.S. international broadcasting through innovation and integration.

“This plan frames the future direction for U.S. international broadcasting,” said BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson. “To retain and increase our audiences and impact, we have to be smart and capitalize on the opportunities of digital integration and audience engagement.”

Entitled, “Impact through Innovation and Integration,” the plan outlines a strategy for growth within an environment of scarce budget resources and profound, ongoing changes in audience media consumption habits. The goal is to be the world’s leading international news agency, working to foster free, open, democratic societies with an audience growth target of 50 million by 2016.

The 5-year strategy calls for a restructuring of federal and grantee elements of the BBG to leverage the talents and expertise of its broadcasters and journalists, increasing efficiencies across the broadcast enterprise, and ensuring that the original reporting and breaking news stories of each of the Agency’s broadcasters are shared with audiences around the globe.

The plan highlights the desire to integrate elements of U.S. international broadcasting into a single organization while preserving the BBG’s established, trusted brands.

A merger of the staff of the BBG and the International Broadcasting Bureau is already in progress as one of the immediate steps mandated by the Board to rationalize management and support functions.

The Agency will now study phased implementation plans to break down the organizational silos present in the BBG’s complex amalgam of broadcast entities, some Federal and some non-Federal, with different legal and administrative frameworks.

The BBG brands – Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa, Radio Free Asia, and Radio and TV Martí - face intense competition from an ever-expanding universe of emerging media choices as well as the challenges of censorship and extremist voices.

To address these challenges and advance the nation’s strategic priorities, BBG’s plan features innovative initiatives: to create a global news network; to leverage new delivery technologies such as satellite video for China, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia; and to devise sophisticated new means of countering Internet blocking and other forms of censorship.

The plan is the result of a wide-ranging strategy review conducted from September 2010 to June 2011 at the direction of the BBG Board. The review assessed all agency media efforts worldwide in 15 regionally focused sessions. Some 75 independent journalists, media experts and practitioners, diplomats, and area specialists engaged pro bono with more than 200 agency employees at all levels to analyze the unique value-added and impact of BBG broadcasters in light of evolving media and political environments.

A copy of the Strategic Plan is available here. A companion BBG strategy website is hosting an ongoing discussion of the plan and the future of U.S. international broadcasting.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 165 million in 100 countries. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí).
(Leticia King/BBG)