Media giant Viacom is considering expanding its ongoing HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, called "Know HIV/AIDS," overseas, initially targeting developing countries, The Financial Times reports. The campaign has been under way in the United States for about two months and has included public service announcements on television and radio stations, print and online advertisements, and the inclusion of HIV/AIDS story lines in the company's various Showtime, CBS, and UPN television programs, including Becker, Queer as Folk, Enterprise, The Parkers, and One on One. Viacom has pledged more than $120 million in air time for the campaign.
The media group's marketing council is currently creating an action plan and talking with the BBC World Service about options for airing the campaign in developing countries. Company officials also are studying how to best handle a variety of language issues, infrastructure problems, and the sheer size of the AIDS epidemic in developing countries in addressing the global epidemic. "It's a different message and a different challenge, but one that we must begin," said Carl Folta, Viacom's senior vice president for philanthropic activities.