BBG Watch Commentary
VOA Facebook Page – 561k Likes
BBC World News Facebook Page – 5.5m Likes
In pursuing their digital media and social media strategy, International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives who report to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) have nearly eliminated all of Voice of America (VOA) radio broadcasts and in collaboration with VOA executives diminished VOA news reporting in favor of feature stories that supposedly generate more social media interest.
Yet while VOA radio audiences worldwide have dwindled, VOA has made hardly any progress in social media outreach and engagement in recent years when compared to the tremendous growth of BBC’s and Russia’s RT’s social media platforms. Many of BBC’s and RT’s news reports get hundreds or thousands of Facebook “Likes” or “Shares” while VOA news reports and features can barely get a few dozen. As VOA executives have deemphasized news reporting and diminished the VOA Newsroom staff, VOA often misses important news stories or reports on them late and superficially. VOA journalists blame top executives for bad management and poor employee morale.
RT Facebook Page – 1.5m Likes
In terms of overall Facebook page “Likes,” BBC World News is about ten times better than VOA and RT is about three times better. VOA has 561 thousand Facebook Likes; BBC has 5.5 million; RT has 1.5 million.
The U.S. State Department Facebook page as almost the same number of fans as VOA’s Facebook page: 540 thousand for State Department to 561 thousand for VOA.
BBC World News also outpaces VOA in the number of Facebook fans for its foreign language news. BBC Russian Service has 174 thousand Facebook fans; VOA Russian Service has 36 thousand Facebook fans.
BBC Russian Service Facebook – 174k Likes
Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Russian Service Facebook – 146k Likes
VOA does not even come close to BBC in terms of Twitter shares or to RT in terms of YouTube video views.
BBC World News Twitter – 6.7M Followers
BBC World News has 6.7 million Twitter followers; VOA has only 101 thousand; RT has 642 thousand.
The U.S. State Department English Twitter account has eight times more followers than the VOA English Twitter account: 872K for State Department; 101K for VOA.
U.S. State Department Twitter – 872K Followers
VOA has 33 thousand YouTube subscribers; RT has one million 239 thousand.
RT claims over 1 billion YouTube views; VOA 33.9 million.
RT YouTube Promo Video
In terms of social media engagement, Voice of America does not even come close to BBC or RT and is falling rapidly behind these two international media outlets in terms of social media engagement growth.
See this press release from BBC on its latest social media growth:
The BBC today announced that bbc.com reached a record 96 million unique users and generated an all-time high of 1.3 billion page views in March 2014.
BBC World News welcomed its five millionth Facebook fan and new figures also reveal that the BBC is by far the most-shared news brand on Twitter (source: Newswhip), with its stories shared a record 2.71 million times across the month – almost 50% more than any other publisher.
The driving factors were its coverage of major global news stories including the crisis in Ukraine and the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and the increased popularity of bbc.com’s feature sections including BBC Future, BBC Travel and BBC Culture.
The site, which offers up-to-the minute international and local news and in-depth analysis, saw unique user figures up 26% on the monthly average of 76 million, whilst page views rocketed by 35%. Over 34 million video views were seen during the month, with a record-breaking 11 million viewed via the bbc.com apps.
James Montgomery, Director of Digital and Technology for bbc.com, said: “As the leader in global breaking news, our users rely on the BBC to provide impartial and accurate news on developing stories and significant global events, whatever their nature or location. We are incredibly proud that so many people chose us as their trusted source for news on the major stories that captivated the world last month.”
March also marked a record month for traffic across the five feature sections of bbc.com – BBC Travel, BBC Future, BBC Autos, BBC Capital and BBC Culture which together attracted seven million visitors and 63 million page views; resulting in a month-on-month increase of 42% and year-on-year growth of 106%. Popular articles included: BBC Future’s ‘The Future of Safe Sex’ which received over 269,000 page views, BBC Culture’s ‘Beyond Jodorowsky’s Dune: 10 Greatest Movies Never Made’ attracted almost 3.2 million views across the month and BBC Travel’s game ‘Geoguesser’ ‘How Well Do You Know The World’ drew an impressive 270,000 unique users.
Jonathan Fildes, Managing Editor, Features, bbc.com, added: “The feature sections offer users of the site an alternative and in-depth take on a variety of current and unusual topics complementing bbc.com’s news output. We are delighted that these sections are growing in popularity and drawing record figures from fans of bbc.com.”
The site has seen a rise in mobile usage of 88% year-on-year to 24 million browsers per month, whilst figures for desktop have remained stable at 56 million.
For further information, please contact:
Ali Cowe – firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07921 648705 for news
Cassandra Power – email@example.com or on 07739300280 for features