Photo of Director ad interim of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti

Alessandro Gisotti on Massive Growth in Vatican Media Engagement This Easter & Holy Week

Vatican’s Deputy Editorial Director Says Their Media Worked to Implement ‘Creativity of love that the Pope asks of us in order to overcome the isolation caused by the pandemic’

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Alessandro Gisotti, the Vatican’s deputy editorial director, and former ad interim of the Holy See Press Office, has shared that in the midst of much sad news due to the pandemic worldwide, we have something for which to be grateful: Vatican Media’s numbers have grown drastically in this period, as people search a message of faith and hope.

Gisotti, speaking in comments to CNS, expressed that the website of Vatican News, in more than 30 languages, saw that compared to last year’s Holy Week and Easter period, the number of visitors and page views quadrupled.

The Easter events broadcast on YouTube, the Vatican’s Deputy Editorial Director said, had more than 2.1 million views.

Between April 5-13, nearly 5.5 million users registered more than 14.5 million views on the vaticannews.va website, versus last year, which saw some 1.5 million users and some 3.5 million page views, reported CNS.

“We have been struck,” the deputy editorial director of Vatican Communications told CNS by email on April 14, “by the many emails we have received, comments and posts on our social media from people, even agnostics and nonbelievers, who say they have been moved by the words and gestures of the Holy Father during this very difficult period,”

Vatican News live-streamed all the major events on its YouTube channels with live commentary in six languages, plus, for the first time, a channel featuring a sign-language interpreter.

Alessandro Gisotti also spoke about the massive growth for the Argentine Pontiff’s and Vatican News’ social media accounts.

This Holy Week, the @Pontifex Twitter accounts exceeded 50 million followers. The Pope’s @Franciscus Instagram account, on the other hand, exceeded 7 million followers.

Turning to Vatican News, their Instagram account gained 27,000 new followers over Holy Week, making their total followers reach nearly half a million.

Through its six different-language Twitter accounts, Vatican News had 61 million views.

Almost 18 million viewers watched the live video feeds of the Holy Week events on the different languages pages of the Vatican News Facebook pages.

The Pope’s Via Crucis on Good Friday alone had more than 5 million viewers. Levels of engagement on Facebook were high with 1.9 million actions on their accounts and an “exceptional number” of almost 143,000 comments made during the Pope’s Easter events April 12, Gisotti said.

This year the Vatican offered for the first time, all major Holy Week and Easter events, to be broadcast worldwide via satellite each year.

Thanks to funding from the Knights of Columbus, six events were broadcast and distributed free-of-charge, to television outlets and networks around the world.

The significant growth in the Vatican’s numbers, Gisotti believes, demonstrates that “many people, not just the Catholic faithful, were able to follow and ‘encounter’ the Holy Father and, through him, the Word of God thanks to this technology and especially to streaming services and social media,” when asked by CNS for information about online engagement during Holy Week and Easter.

Vatican media outlets, Alessandro Gisotti also stated, tried to put into practice that “creativity of love that the Pope asks of us in order to overcome the isolation caused by the pandemic.”

With more than 8.1 million households viewing the entire event, Easter Mass had a nearly 50% share of Italy’s television audience.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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