13/11/2013 : Press release - TV News Channels in Europe – the best of times and the worst of times?

Brand new report free to download
By the European Audiovisual Observatory

  • Almost 300 news channels are currently available in Europe, of which more than 170 are established in the European Union.
  • Private channels dominate the national TV news landscape with more than 80% of news channels belong to private companies.
  • The pan-European channels with the widest distribution in Europe are CNN International, BBC World news, Al Jazeera (English), Euronews (English) and RT (Russia Today).
  • The number of news channels available over free DTT channels has increased to 43, compared to 16 four years ago.

The European Audiovisual Observatory has just published a new report on the TV news market in Europe (covering 38 countries). The entire 100-page report is free to download here. This new 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.

Almost 300 news channels currently  available in Europe

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).

Pan European News Channels

Figure 1: Statute and country of origin of the Top Ten International News Channels by Countries Reached

Source: MAVISE database. Channels available in at least 3 countries of the 38 in the study


National news channels in Europe

From a total of 105 national news channels counted by the Observatory, 84 are privately owned whilst 21 are public. There are some exceptions to this otherwise clear market dominance: Spain has three public news channels; The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Ireland and Switzerland only have public news channels.

Growth of TV news channels in Europe

The best of times…

Figure 2 shows the growth of European TV news channels over the last 4 decades. 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.

Figure 2: The Growth of the market for television news channels in Europe

The worst of times…?

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.

Distribution of news channels in Europe

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.

MAVISE is a free online database unique in its kind, developed by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the DG Communication of the European Commission.

MAVISE offers a wide range of sophisticated search possibilities of TV channels according to criteria such as genre, geographical coverage, language, specific target audience.

The MAVISE database is available at http://mavise.obs.coe.int


Methodological note

In a constantly changing television landscape we realise that no figure can be absolute. However, the research and resulting data provided by the European Audiovisual Observatory can be regarded as a fairly reliable overview of the European television market. MAVISE and the data it contains are constantly being up-dated to follow as closely as possible the developments of this extremely complex market. Furthermore, please note that different linguistic versions of a TV channel are considered as separate channels. HD versions are also considered as separate channels.

The identification of existing TV channels is done by comparing data provided by various sources such as the lists of licences issued by regulatory authorities, the line-ups of satellites (as provided by Lyngsat website), the line-ups of cable, IPTV, DTT and DVB-H operators (as published on their websites), the Observatory's network of correspondents and the trade press.


Contact for the report "Television News Channels in Europe"
Deirdre Kevin, European Television and On-demand Audiovisual Markets Analyst, Department for Information on Markets and Financing, European Audiovisual Observatory.
tel.: (00 33) (0) 3 90 21 60 07  E-mail: firstname.lastname@coe.int

Journalists, please contact:
Alison Hindhaugh, Information and Press Officer
tel.: (00 33) (0) 3 90 21 60 07  E-mail: firstname.lastname@coe.int