A total of 6.6 million people – two in five adults – consume BBC content every week in Afghanistan, a new survey has found. BBC TV reaches around a fourth of the adult population of Afghanistan while BBC radio remains the BBC’s largest platform in the country.
Radio – on FM and shortwave – remains the BBC’s largest platform in Afghanistan, reaching 4.7 million Afghans each week, predominantly in Pashto and Dari, and in smaller numbers in Uzbek and English.
An audience of 3.2 million Afghans watch the BBC TV each week. BBC World Service launched TV news programming in Pashto last year: news bulletins Monday to Friday, Da Iqtisad la Naray (World Business bulletin) on Saturday, and Ownay Pa Kaharono Ki (Weekly News Review)looking at the highlights of the week on Sunday. These programmes as well as well as the BBC Pashto monthly youth debate Da Fikr Lari, (Path of Thought) are watched by a weekly audience of 1.5 million on partner channel, Shamshad TV. A majority of viewers (75%) say that BBC Pashto TV programming improved their perception of the BBC.
The BBC Persian TV has a weekly audience of 2.2 million in Afghanistan, reaching viewers directly on satellite and via the BBC’s partner channel, Yak TV. The BBC Persian TV programmes, Shast Daghigheh (60 Minutes) and Be Ebarate Digar (Hardtalk) have the highest reach among the programmes offered to Afghan viewers. Around 200,000 people in the country watch the English-language TV channel, BBC World News TV, every week.
BBC World Service Head of Journalism, Behrouz Afagh, comments: “The results of this survey show that the BBC remains strong in Afghanistan. People continue to come to us in large numbers because they trust our journalism and find it objective and relevant. We can also see that people are increasingly using our TV offer, including our new daily TV programming in Pashto.”
Referrals from social networks in Afghanistan to the BBC sites – bbcpashto.com, bbcpersian.com and bbcpersian.com/Afghanistan – have been increasing steadily and now account for around a quarter of weekly traffic to all these sites. Around 56,000 and 40,000 people a month come to the BBC Persian and BBC Pashto websites respectively from social networks in Afghanistan. Almost half of the BBC Pashto Facebook fans (330,000) and nearly fifth (417,000) of BBC Persian Facebook fans are from Afghanistan.
This audience update is based on the main results from a national media survey conducted in Afghanistan in October 2014.
BBC Afghan (in Pashto and Dari) and BBC Persian are part of BBC World Service.