(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BBG audience reach doubles in Ukraine

(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

WASHINGTON — The audience of U.S. international media (USIM) networks in Ukraine has doubled in the past year, according to newest polling data from a nation-wide survey conducted in April 2014.

The findings show that each week, one in five adults (20.8%) in Ukraine (including Crimea) turn to USIM networks for news across Ukrainian and Russian-language platforms. This is an increase from 9.8% measured in October 2012.

The change coincides with stepped-up efforts by BBG networks to respond to the crisis in Ukraine with innovative on-air programming and online options that engage audiences directly and drive interest in the broadcasts.  Read more about the programming here and here.

Voice of America programming reaches 18.3% of adults weekly nationwide, including Crimea, up from 9.2% in 2012. Similarly, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s weekly audience reach jumped from 2.8% to 7.8%.  Audiences say that the networks’ coverage has been a trusted and important source of news, and has increased their understanding of events during the crisis.

“Our networks are providing news coverage in Ukraine that is urgently needed, particularly in light of the increase of Russian propaganda and  misinformation in the country,” said Bruce Sherman, Director of Strategy and Development.

Audience reach is two to three times higher among those who describe themselves as ethnically Ukrainian (22.9% of ethnic Ukrainians weekly and 32.8% of those who mostly speak Ukrainian at home), though one in ten adults nationwide who categorize themselves as ethnically Russian have seen or heard USIM content in the past week. Most of the increase in USIM weekly audience reach is from Ukrainian content, but VOA and RFE/RL’s Russian language content also saw a modest increase.

In regional terms, USIM’s weekly reach is highest in the west (41.7%) and center (26.3%) of Ukraine. But BBG networks’ weekly reach grew significantly in the east and south to 9.3% (from 3.5% in 2012) and to 11.6% (from 2.9% in 2012) in the three eastern provinces most affected by separatist violence. In Crimea, USIM reached 3.2% of adults weekly despite the strict media restrictions that forced its TV and radio affiliates off the air in March.