Voice of America’s social media engagement made an impact worldwide in 2017, even in challenging media environments, according to the annual numbers released by the Broadcasting Board of Governors through its Performance and Accountability Report.
When the Cambodian government cracked down on FM stations carrying Voice of America programming earlier this year, VOA Khmer, that has the most popular Facebook page inside Cambodia, continued to reach its audience through its web and social media platforms.
VOA Pashto and VOA Dari’s Facebook pages made a strong showing in Afghanistan with a combined fan base of almost seven million in a country with fewer than 10 million Internet users. VOA Mandarin ranked third most popular Mandarin-language media on YouTube, while VOA Ukrainian introduced “Chat-Time,” a Facebook live expansion of its popular TV program, “Chas-Time.”
“Over the last several years, our strategy has been to intensify our social media engagement,” said VOA Director Amanda Bennett. “The latest BBG report offers proof that this strategy is working.”
In addition to social media engagement, VOA’s network of affiliate stations grew by 146 radio and television partner stations, resulting in an audience increase of more than two million weekly in Turkey, Kenya, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. VOA’s total global weekly audience remained stable at nearly 237 million, following a record setting increase of 65 million during the previous two years.
Data in the Performance and Accountability Report measures the effectiveness of all of the BBG’s broadcast elements that include the federally funded Voice of America and Office of Cuba Broadcasting and the grantees Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting Networks.