Viacom and BBC Join Forces in War on AIDS
May 21, 2003
Following months of talks, Viacom -- the world's largest media group -- and BBC World Service are joining to launch the first pan-African radio campaign aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS. Reflecting growing alarm over the AIDS pandemic in Africa, the project will produce anti-AIDS radio messages in seven language services in Africa, where the World Service has 60 million regular listeners.Adapted from:
Viacom, the media company behind CBS Television, Paramount Pictures, and MTV, approached the BBC because of its huge reach in Africa. "When we decided to explore this project in Africa, where radio is the most powerful medium, it was obvious to turn to the BBC," said Carl Folta, senior vice president at the media giant. Viacom has been seeking an international partner since launching a far-reaching AIDS campaign in the United States this year, jointly funded by the Kaiser Foundation.
Under the World Service project, initial production and running costs will be funded by the Kaiser Foundation. The campaign will include 30- to 60-second educational radio spots at peak listening hours, and longer question-and-answer segments on World Service's Postmark Africa program. According to Roy Head, director of health at World Service Trust, the charity linked to the BBC, "The BBC has been doing educational programming in many parts of the world; what's different about this is it's the first time the World Service has done a campaign."
In addition, Viacom could also work with the BBC on AIDS initiatives in the Caribbean, which has the second-highest infection rate in the world, said Folta. The media group is drawing up plans for a European AIDS awareness campaign as well, following research suggesting the media is one of the most effective tools for changing health care behavior.
Financial Times (London)
05.19.03; Tim Burt
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.