Making News Across Europe

Culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, seems to have ruled out the possibility of relaxing media ownership laws so that BSkyB could take over the DTT platform if ITV Digital folds.

Bloomberg has five financial news channels across Europe and one interactive offering, which is currently available in the UK on NTL and Telewest.

 

The channels are available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish and their content is dictated by the market they are catering to. Bloomberg Television head of media sales Trevor Fellows says this multi-linguistic capability gives Bloomberg the edge on some of its pan-European competitors which just broadcast in English, as consumers obviously prefer programming in their own language.

 

All the channels are broadcast from London, but the TV division has sales representatives across Europe as well as a pan-European group and market-focused teams in London. Fellows says sponsorship is becoming an increasingly popular activity, as with Fujitsu Siemens' sponsorship of four of the channels to promote its presence at the recent CeBIT technology fair in Hanover.

 

The sales team more often deals with the European part of a media agency than the domestic, UK-focused operation. However, Fellows believes pan-European TV brands are starting to command more room on all media schedules.

 

"Pan-European TV used to be very expensive as some of the major players drove the rates up, but they've now come down to a realistic level," he says. "As multi-channel TV becomes more accepted, there is more interest in pan-European television.

 

"There's a long way to go before pan-European deals form a massive part of schedules, but it is becoming recognized that they offer distinct benefits to the right clients. Advertisers such as car companies will always want to gear their creative towards local markets, but brands like Fujitsu Siemens, IBM and Vodafone find pan-European packages very attractive."

 

Bloomberg does put together cross-platform deals using its TV, radio, press and web offerings, but Fellows says each sales team primarily focuses on one medium.

 

The European Media and Marketing Survey for 2001, which surveyed about 40 million people across 16 European countries, was good news for Bloomberg Television.

 

It showed that the brand's daily audience grew to 517,000 - a 108% increase on 1999 - and its regular audience of 381,000 people was 10% higher than CNBC's and 27% above BBC World's.

 

The sports news provider has a completely different set up to Bloomberg TV. It broadcasts the same picture to a universe of 94 million homes across Europe and Africa,  with commentary in 17 languages voiced over the top. Ninety three per cent of its viewers listen in their local language.

 

"It's important to have that local element as people don't want an American accent telling them what's happening to their Swedish ice hockey team," says UK sales director Liz Jones.

 

The company's latest new launch was Eurosportnews, the first pan-European digital TV news channel focused purely on sport, last September. Available in the UK on Sky Digital and Telewest Active Digital, the service provides regularly updated coverage of the main global sporting events, from basketball to golf.

 

Jones points out that, because the UK's TV market is so cluttered, we have a different perception of pan-European channels to the rest of Europe.

 

"The UK has a competitive market, but in territories like Scandinavia, Poland and Germany there is no local competition such as Sky Sports, so the percentage of people watching Eurosport is much higher," she says.

 

"Eurosport used to be regarded as a channel that shows  lots of niche sports. It does, but it also features the Winter Olympics and the Tennis Grand Slam - it's just not perceived that way here because there's such competition."

 

Like Fellows at Bloomberg Television, Jones believes pan-European TV is strengthening its foothold on media schedules. She says the medium is a powerful supplement to campaigns running in various forms in different countries and can offer more flexibility than local offerings. The team is now trying to extend its offering by integrating digital platforms such as the web, PDA and WAP.

 

Eurosport has invested heavily in research to prove that, as with the financial news stations, it fosters great loyalty among business travellers.

These itinerant high-spenders know they can switch on to catch the footie or the Tour de France whether they're in a four-star in Stockholm or back home in Surrey.                          

CNBC Europe was formed as a joint venture between General Electrics-owned NBC and Dow Jones & Company in 1998 as a 24-hour global business news network available through satellite, cable and other digital platforms.

With a European production centre in London, CNBC Europe provides a mix of live business news, financial information and interviews, with its financial information ticker displaying a constant flow of stock, bond, currency, commodity and futures prices.

 

CNBC Europe is part of the CNBC global financial news network which is owned by NBC, the leading television network in the US and the broadcasting unit of GE. The company claims it reaches more than 70 million offices, homes and hotel rooms in 44 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

 

The cable network broke ground as the first to broadcast directly from the floor of the New York stock exchange, and CNBC also has a strong presence in the Asian market.

 

The London production centre takes feeds from other production centres in the US and Asia and also carries live links with partners Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. The European output is no sop to the business audience, with 12 hours of live programming on the European markets every weeday.

 

Key schedule items include CNBC Squawk Box, a pre-market game show, Marketwatch, an up-to-the-minute picture of the European business day and European Market Wrap and Business Center Europe covering the main stories of the day. CNBC says EMS research has shown it reaches  4.5 million of Europe's top 20% earners each month.

 

The channel also makes use of its parental heritage to leaven the business with pleasure - CNBC Weekend includes extensive coverage of "executive" sports like the PGA Tour and includes popular US talk shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

 

Last year the network completed new distribution deals with NTL to carry CNBC in the UK, Ireland and Switzerland and ZDF, Germany's leading public broadcaster, which will include CNBC packages in its digital offering across the country. According to a spokesman, viewing has increased by 50% in the last year.

 

"The market for real time market information is growing among both institutional and private investors and CNBC is committed to investing to enhance our service and geographical coverage across Europe," he adds.

 

The BBC's English language news network is housed within BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm which is responsible for all of the corporation's commercial endeavours.

 

BBC America and BBC Prime also exist within the portfolio and BBC Worldwide has partnership arrangements with the Discovery Network to produce the Animal Planet and People and Arts brands, alongside the UK TV portfolio run in partnership with Flextech.

 

The 24-hour international news and information channel claims to reach 180 million homes in 200 countries and territories worldwide and was launched in 1995. The brand claims to be the only international news channel to have grown in viewership across Europe every year since 1995.

 

Late last year plans were announced for BBC World to be combined with the BBC World Service to create a single integrated international news division. The division, the structure for which will be laid out in more detail next month, is being led forward by World Service and Global News director Mark Byford.

 

Speaking at the announcement of the restructure, BBC director-general Greg Dyke said: "The World Service has a unique reputation and impact and is a beacon of high quality, distinctive public service broadcasting. BBC World is building its reputation and continues to extend its global reach. Both services, as well as online, bring huge credit back to Britain."

 

The BBC made a fair trading commitment to keep the grant-in-aid and commercial streams separate and the new structure will see BBC World shift from its home inside BBC Worldwide.              

CNN, possibly the most recognized international news channel brand, has a strong commitment in its European network to multimedia with web and mobile offerings supporting the main TV output.

 

The target audience is clear - the EMS-recognised 40million "affluent adults" aged 18 and over across 16 European countries, 78% of whom are in five countries, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain. CNN's own research identifies the following as key identifiers for the core audience CNN Europe is looking for: They use English as a business language, have a global perspective with a local view, they're electronically connected, they need global targeted media, but are under time pressure and travel frequently. Eighty nine per cent agree it's important to keep up to date with news and current affairs, with TV being the most relied upon media and news and current affairs being the highly viewed genre.

 

CNNLondon produces 50 hours of programming a week, including three hours of live breakfast news. In December two new programmes were launched - Biz News and Business Central, increasing the live ioutput still further.

 

Europe 2001 reasearch findings positioned CNN as the leading international news brand, reaching nearly 39% monthly of Europe's high earners and opinion formers.

 

CNN.com Europe was CNN's first regionalized English-language website and the site has grown steadily, and saw a hike in uasage of over 330% in the aftermath of September 11. EMS also records an annual reach of 13% for CNN.com, which, the brand claims, also includes the largest share of chief executives, managing directors and chief financial officers.                                  

The European Media & Marketing Survey from InterView.NSS measures both international media and national media, TV and print, offering an in-depth view of media usage among Europe's affluent target groups. Published annually since 1996, the figures for 2001 were released last month.

 

EMS also provides a wide variety of classification data: ownership and consumption of products and services, attitudes and activities, business responsibilities, leisure and travelling habits covering 14 EU countries (excluding Greece), plus Switzerland and Norway.

 

Last month, EMS unveiled new data measuring the day part impact of European TV. Pan-European TV seems to broadly mirror national TV channels in usage through the day, hitting a breakfast high before lulling through the day and peaking between around 8 and 11pm.

 

Looking at the EMS's target audience of 40 million affluent main income earners, PETV takes a 19% share of this audience between 6 and 9am. Meanwhile, PETV takes 24% of overall net TV viewing in the 10pm to midnight day part across the territories.

 

EMS also pulled out an analysis of what it termed as "decision makers" within the affluent target audience. This found that decision makers tended to turn to pan-european TV channels for their news and information needs even more than the rest of the affluent sample. Specifically at breakfast and again between 10 and 11pm, mirroring the agenda of the audience and its need to check in with business information across the global markets. The TV survey also found that on an index, decision-makers were far more likely to tune to PETV than to national channels - again reflective of the need for a global outlook and of increased mobility of viewers across international boundaries.

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