Pakistan has proven to be a difficult media market for Voice of America, but a new short-form programming tactic is attempting to get the broadcaster’s foot in the door…
Getting traction in Pakistan has proven elusive for Voice of America.
Many potential affiliates are either wary of governmental crackdowns or concerned about strong anti-Americanism within their current audiences, causing them to avoid the VOA brand.
Still others, who may be open to working with VOA, view it incorrectly as a deep-pocketed entity willing to pay-for-play. Even when affiliates are secured, the programming is often preempted or banished to fringe time slots.
Looking to start fresh, VOA is using a new tactic to get its foot in the door with Pakistani audiences.
Three news affiliates, Lahore-based Dunya News and Express News, and Karachi’s AAJ TV are now all airing News Minute.
The short is airing in prime time on all three stations, so what it lacks in depth it should more than make up for in eyeballs.
With favorable public opinion numbers of the United States in the teens, Voice of America has a long way to go to build trust among Pakistanis.
The nightly News Minute is intended as a first step in delivering news while developing trust and credibility in a country where YouTube is currently blocked — a reaction to an offensive anti-Islamic film that was released in September.
The short-form play is not the full extent of VOA’s Urdu strategy, as noted in this previous post about Zindagi 360, a youth-targeted lifestyle program that is showing hit potential on Pakistan cable channel Hum TV.