International News Channel Euronews to Generate its Own News Content

Channel will shift from being client of news agencies to a competitor.

 

MADRID -- Multi-lingual 24-hour news channel Euronews announced Tuesday in Madrid it will "take the channel to a new dimension" in 2011, shifting from a client of news agencies to a competitor -- capable of providing its own news content.

The revamped version of Euronews, which has already started implementing changes, will be more "personal, local and digital," not only allowing its army of international journalists to tell stories in their own languages, but to enhance the news agenda with their local knowledge rather than simply reacting to stories already on the global radar.

Euronews will add its 11th language version this year (Ukrainian) and open permanent desks in Paris, Kiev, Istanbul, Dubai, Washington and Beijing -- in addition to those recently set up in London, Brussels, Cairo and Doha. The Brussels desk alone boasts 20 journalists.

"We are not only multi-national, but non-national. That is one of the keys to our success because you cannot identify a specific national flavor," managing director Michael Peters said. "That makes it all the more appealing because we are not representing a national point of view."

Tapping its in-house asset of journalists from a wide-range of countries and linguistic backgrounds, Euronews executives said they would make a play for the top spot in the most competitive segment of the media landscape -- the 24-hour news channel.

The Madrid presentation -- part of a series that will next go to Berlin -- comes weeks after Turner's joint venture with local partner Prisa -- the Spanish-language 24-hour channel CNN+ -- closed and was labeled economically unviable.

"There are 117 24-hour news channels in Europe alone, but what distinguishes us is our low-cost and greater impact thanks to our languages. We have invested in language resources. It's a question of business model," Peters said. "We have the best cost/audience ration in the world."

With a mixed financing model and a €60 million ($82 million) budget, Euronews chairman Philippe Cayla said the company was poised to sweep the market given its broad-base and low costs.

"Our competitors limit themselves to a niche of highly-educated, business travelers, fluent in spoken English. Multi-lingualism is the essence of Euronews. With our journalists and their languages we can address 80% of Europeans in their own language," Cayla said.

Lucian Sarb, Euronews' director of news and programs said the company would maintain its short transitions between news bulletins and eschew fancy graphics in favor of straightforward reporting.

"Our viewers are smart enough to form their own opinions," Sarb told The Hollywood Reporter. "We just put the facts and they can decide if it's relevant to their lives."

In addition to new programs -- including the Google-sponsored Trendshighlighting the week's most trendy topics -- the channel will incorporate original cross-border reporting and interviews by local journalists.
The company will offer a full live application for iPad in the first half of the year and has signed a contract with Panasonic for connected TV. Peters said the company was in talks with Philips, Toshiba, Sony, LG, Samsung, Sharp and Loewe.

The deals with electronics manufacturers will allow the company to sidestep license bureaucracy and fees in many places.

Also, Euronews will offer a picture and text version in 10 languages called Euronews Display with no sound, targeted at airports, and a 40-minute full news show for Air France, including business, news and sports.

"We will be offering specificity," Peters said. "We will have customized content appropriate to how the consumer wants to use it, while maintaining the brand name."

Euronews, which is presently available in Spain only through pay platforms, has an editorial agreement with Spain's leading daily El Pais and is negotiating space with local partners and the Spanish government.

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