CANNES — International TV news channels have been flexing their muscles on the beach in Cannes this week as the market becomes ever more competitive.
Bloomberg will contribute to Euronews’ “Business Weekly” program, a round-up of the week’s business events, hosted by Oleksandra Vakulina. Jonathan Ferro, Bloomberg’s markets reporter, will join Vakulina in analyzing the world’s top business stories.
The show will air on all of Euronews’ 12 language services, which include English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.
On Tuesday, Euronews said it was reupping its deal with YouTube and adding a premium channel devoted to science, “Euronews Knowledge,” which will feature contributions from leading science blogger Michael Stevens, who founded Vsauce.
“Euronews Knowledge” would be “fun and accessible,” Euronews CEO Michael Peters said.
Euronews is the second most popular news channel on YouTube worldwide with 7.2 million unique visitors a month to its 16 YouTube channels.
Peters also announced an overhaul of its organizational structure. Its 400 journalists will now supply news to a central content unit, whose output will then be packaged by a product marketing unit to suit the various outlets, both tradition linear channels and digital platforms, including VOD, mobile apps, radio and websites.
“We are not a TV channel anymore. We are a hub,” he said. “It is important to understand that the product has to be adapted to the way it is used. The channel must take the product and adapt it to the different universes.”
It would be a “customized” service. “So it is a different product each time,” depending on the outlet, such as the YouTube channels, which are “tailor-made for YouTube and adapted to the needs of the YouTube audience.”
“Television is old-fashioned,” he said.
Peters said having a brand that could be trusted for its independence and quality was essential. “It’s all about the brand. The only way to survive and stay on top is to build that,” he said.
BBC Global News chief operating officer Jim Egan is also in Cannes, where he has been talking up the global news provider’s newly opened state-of-the-art production base in central London. Like Euronews, the BBC has unified its news facilities to supply linear channels and digital platforms from a central, pooled source, which is fed by 2,000 journalists, working in 27 languages.
Egan is more upbeat about the traditional TV news channels business than Peters. Last year, thanks to carriage deals with Time Warner and Comcast, BBC World News reached more than 25 million homes in North America, up from less than 6 million before. Audiences are also growing in Asia, Latin America and Africa, although Europe still remains a “difficult” market.
He acknowledges the pay TV market is becoming increasingly crowded, and that is threatening the business. He told Variety: “It is an area where I have some misgivings and some sleepless nights as more and more news channels pile into these sectors, increasingly with business models that aren’t conventional business models, but allow them to pay for carriage rather than seek to be paid for carriage.”
Channels that do have to make their own way, like BBC World News, will be put under pressure, he said.
He has some concerns about trends in the online market too, where traditional banner advertising is being replaced by other revenue streams, such as carrying advertorial content, which the BBC is reluctant to adopt.
Another source of news was touted by Andrew Creighton, who tubthumped his YouTube channel Vice News as an alternative news sources for a new generation. “Younger audiences mistrust commercial news channels — they are disenchanted rather than not interested,” he told a panel on new media.
Elsewhere at MipTV, Russia’s multilingual news service RT unveiled a service called Ruptly, which will provide raw news footage to buyers for use in their news shows. Subscribers will pay according to the size of their audience.