Almost 300 news channels in Europe

Sky NewsThe European Audiovisual Observatory has published a report on the TV news market in Europe (covering 38 countries). The report, carried out as part of the work commissioned by the DG Communication of the European Commission, sources 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 Strasbourg-based Observatory counts 214 channels based in Europe (171 in EU28 plus a further 33 from the candidate countries, Switzerland, Norway and Russia). A further 80 or so channels broadcast from other parts of Europe, from the US, Africa, Asia, or the Middle East.

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).

The biggest explosion of news channels took place from the end of the 1990s into the 2000s. A similarly large expansion has also taken place over the last ten years. The Observatory counts that 28 new channels have been launched since 2010 alone.

However, TV news channel closures are also increasing. In the last five to six years more than 25 news channels have closed down. Several of these were developed specifically for mobile phone broadcast (3G or DVB-H). Broadcasters are now concentrating more on developing news apps for smartphones rather than providing their news as part of mobile TV packages. Recent significant closures include Greek news channel NET TV, CNN+ targeting Spain, Current TV and the Slovenian private news channel Info TV.

In general the Observatory reports the increased distribution opportunities for television news offered by new platforms such as DTT, and digital cable and satellite networks as well as ADSL (IPTV). The report also looks at industry data regarding developments in online viewer habits and the impact on news. An overview of news APPS for Smartphone and Smart TV is also provided.

It is important to note that despite the increased capacity on digital platforms, news channels are competing with a boom in other types of channels, in particular HD simulcasts that are competing for space on the distribution networks.

The report does note a major increase since 2009 in the availability of television new channels over free DTT networks. 16 news channels were available on the free to air networks in Europe in 2009. This increased to 43 in October 2013.

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