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BBC Thai was created in July 2014 as a Facebook service in response to the military coup in Thailand, and is now is in the unique position of moving from being a social only offer to engaging with users directly on a BBC platform.
Via its social-media and new online presence, BBC Thai aims at attracting a digitally savvy and young audience, while continuing to be a source of impartial and independent news for a country where the media still faces restrictions.
The development is a result of the funding boost for the BBC World Service announced by the UK Government last year and is part of the World Service’s biggest expansion since the 1940s. Along with national, regional and international politics, bbcthai.com will cover business, culture, health, technology, science and entertainment – as well as women’s issues and social affairs. It offers free content from BBC Learning English.
During the past two years BBC Thai Facebook page has generated over 1.3 million interactions a month and has 1.65 million fans (November 2016), mostly in Thailand. BBC Thai also uses Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, YouTube and other social media to reach its audience.
BBC Thai has expanded its team in London and its Bangkok office, to enhance its ability to produce original digital content. Its newly appointed Editor, veteran Thai journalist and broadcaster Nopporn Wong-Anan, will lead the teams. He said:
“I am excited and proud to be part of the digital transformation of BBC Thai as it has moved from being a social-only service to its own new platform, bbcthai.com. Via this new, mobile-first website we will serve Thai-speakers looking for independent, accurate and balanced news, information and analysis, for which the BBC is known. BBC Thai’s presence on the social-media scene will continue to expand.”
The service will also bring innovative formats to engage its audience and has partnered up with BBC’s task-forces that drive the organisation’s digital innovation – BBC Connected Studio and BBC News Labs. The team explored themes of participation and interaction with the local Thai creative industry in Bangkok and Chiang Mai this summer.
BBC Thai is part of BBC World Service.