With an estimated global audience of millions, the networks funded by US Broadcasting Board of Governors draw an audience of 215 million people each week. This includes noteworthy increases in competitive media markets, on television and online.
Growth in the television audience shows an increase of 14 million from 2013. This is in part due to a successful affiliate strategy, through which BBG partners with more than 2,300 media outlets worldwide. These partnerships bring the BBG more than half of its overall global audience.
Weekly audiences in Russia and Ukraine have doubled as Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty expanded live coverage and introduced new programming in the region to counter Russian misinformation. Together, they reach one in five adults in Ukraine weekly.
VOA’s overall audience grew by seven million, to 171.6 million, due to large audience gains mainly in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Russia and Cambodia. Expanded television offerings on popular affiliate stations drove much of this increase in measured audiences.
RFE/RL’s overall audience expanded by more than five million, up to 23.3 million, a marked 30% increase from 2013. Notable audiences came from Iran, with the launch of Radio Farda’s popular morning program “Breakfast with News” as a television show.
In addition to weekly audience size, the BBG measures impact using quantitative, qualitative and anecdotal data on a wide range of factors, including program quality and trustworthiness, engagement with the news process, and audience understanding of current events. Examples of impact include:
Radio/TV Martí launched Reporta Cuba, allowing citizen reporters to use mobile technology and digital media to provide eyewitness accounts of news directly from Cuba.
Radio Free Asia has been at the forefront of breaking news from inside China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), garnering frequent media pickups from the New York Times, Associated Press, Washington Post, and regional media in Asia.
Alhurra and Radio Sawa provided the Middle East and North Africa an alternative and reliable news source in contrast to ISIL propaganda.
The BBG’s Internet anti-censorship program also expands audience reach and program impact, through deployment of circumvention tools and by facilitating access to closed markets.
Jeffrey Shell is BBG CEO and formerly headed Universal Filmed Entertainment. He previously served as chairman of NBC Universal International from 2011-2013 and as president of Comcast Programming Group from 2005 to 2011. Prior to joining Comcast, Shell held a number of positions, including CEO of Gemstar TV Guide International and President of the FOX Cable Networks Group.
Andy Lack serves as Chief Executive Officer and oversees all aspects of U.S. international media. He will provide day-to-day management of BBG’s operations, including oversight of the technical, professional, and administrative support as well as strategic guidance and management of other programs. Lack was sworn-in on January 20, 2015 as the first-ever CEO. Prior to that, Lack served as the Chairman of the Bloomberg Media Group. Previous to joining Bloomberg, Lack was Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. Before joining Sony Music Entertainment, he was president and chief operating officer of NBC, where he oversaw entertainment, news including MSNBC and CNBC, NBC stations, sales and broadcast and network operations. He was responsible for expanding the Today show to three hours and creating the show’s street-side studio in New York’s Rockefeller Center.