“For the past ten years, I have associated Routine of Nepal Banda with factual news,” says Avishek Bist, an engineering student in the UAE. “I know that this page takes its content seriously.”
Users also seem to like its positive take on happenings in Nepal, at a time when much of the mainstream press is filled with news of corruption in high places, political intrigue and cynical op-eds. While the legacy media’s social media posts with links to stories may get a few hundred likes if they are lucky, RONB’s uploads regularly hit tens of thousands of likes and shares.
RONB has seen a steady increase in its following ever since it started, and it does not show any signs of stopping, according to socialblade.com. After ignoring it for a decade, Nepal’s business community, advertisers and politicians finally appear to be taking notice of its reach. RONB is now monetising its content, and accepts product placements through native advertising, although Victor Paudel has said in interviews that he is selective about brands that he promotes to ensure quality and reliability. The language also avoids hard sell, and most paid posts are subtle and read like regular content.
Politicians also appear to have taken notice. Much of the success in mobilising young voters in Kathmandu to elect rapper-engineer Balen Shah as mayor has been attributed to video posts from his campaign trail. Past RONB posts on its Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube accounts show that the site actively promotes independent mayoral candidates like Balen Shah and Harka Sampang in Dharan.
Nepal’s mainstream parties appear worried about the rise of the independents in local elections, and the impact this is having on provincial and federal elections in November. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s wife Arzu last month accused RONB of being in Balen Shah’s payroll.
“How much did Balen Shah pay RONB for publicity on Facebook?” she asked at a rally of the youth wing of her ruling Nepali Congress party.
Read also: Protecting free speech on Nepal’s cybersphere, Sabina Devkota