Euro news channels keep growing but pace of closures increases

Joseph O'Halloran | 13-11-2013

Describing the current situation as the best of times and the worst of times, the European Audiovisual Observatory has revealed a growing news channel market that also shows increasing closures.

Carried out as part of the work commissioned by the DG Communication of the European Commission, sourcing data from the Observatory's MAVISE TV database as well as from a range of recent studies by national organisations such as the ALM, CNC, and Ofcom, the EAO's report shows that almost 300 news channels are currently available in Europe, of which more than 170 are established in the European Union.

Of the 214 Europe-based channels, approximately 110 are national news channels, around 60 have a pan-European or global/international remit and 46 are the Europe By Satellite channels (provided by the audiovisual services of the European Union).

Private channels dominate the national TV news landscape, with more than 80% of news channels belonging to private companies such as CNN International, Al Jazeera, Euronews and RT (Russia Today). These channels along with BBC World News form the top five news outlets in the continent.

Fundamentally the market is growing steadily, with 28 new channels launched since 2010 alone. Furthermore, the number of news channels available over free DTT channels has increased to 43, compared to 16 four years ago. Yet at the same time, TV news channel closures are also gathering In the last five to six years more than 25 news channels have closed down and recent significant closures include Greek news channel NET TV, CNN+ targeting Spain, Current TV and the Slovenian private news channel Info TV.

Several of these were developed specifically for mobile video broadcast over 3G or DVB-H, and EAO notes that broadcasters are now concentrating more on developing news apps for smartphones rather than providing their news as part of mobile TV packages.