After just two and a half months, the Turkish-language YouTube channel +90, a joint project of international broadcasters BBC, DW, France 24 and Voice of America (VOA), now has 100,000 subscribers.
Erkan Arikan, head of DW’s Turkish service: “This result confirms that we have not only generated curiosity among users in Turkey with our reports, background and personal stories within just a few months, but have also offered these users a platform. We will continue to add topics to the agenda that are otherwise not being widely featured.”
Among the most popular videos are reports about the start-up industry in Turkey and social issues as well as human touch stories.
Deutsche Welle’s +90 Channel Manager Isil Nergiz: "We see that controversial or taboo topics that are rarely discussed in mainstream Turkish media are particularly successful."
YouTube channel +90, named after the international country code for Turkey, aims to provide independent, credibleand objective coverage to Turkish-speaking users inside and outside of Turkey and to strengthen freedom of expression and plurality of opinion. The range of topics includes international politics, business, society, science and culture.
Users have reacted very differently to +90. Some see the channel produced by international broadcasters as an unwanted intrusion into Turkey’s media landscape. However, the majority of feedback on social media has been positive.
Users have written in the comments section: "I have never been able to find such topics and contributions on any other channel. It’s great that I discovered you!"
"Bravo +90! You are doing a great job!"
"The saying 'one is never too old to learn' now makes sense to me. Thank you very much for your efforts!"
DW Director General Peter Limbourg: "The enthusiastic response to the YouTube channel +90 is a huge success for all partners involved in the project. The overwhelmingly positive feedback we have received since its April launch shows us that many people in Turkey are very open-minded about our programs. The interest in dialogue and diverse, international perspectives is enormous. +90 contributes to pluralism of the media and diversity of opinion."
Many female fans
YouTube generally is a male-dominated platform. Among Turkish users the gender ratio is 20 to 80 percent female to male. However, on +90 almost half of the users are female. Channel manager Nergiz from DW explained that the distribution aligns with the community management strategy: "With this channel, we want to provide women a safe space for exchange."
The adherence to proper netiquette is essential: misogynic comments and any forms of hate speech on the platform are hidden by the DW editors who manage the account.
VOA Director Amanda Bennett: "To reach such an impressive milestone after just a few months is a remarkable achievement for the +90 team. The terrific appeal this programming has had with women is one of the most exciting developments. We look forward to working with our partners to continue this positive momentum."
Plans for future expansion
Selected reports from the channel are being translated into German, thereby making them accessible to a larger audience. A Twitter account for +90 is scheduled to be launched in September.