A new report from the EBU demonstrates the significance of news to public service media (PSM), with public organizations across Europe spending in excess of EUR 5.5 billion per year on news and current affairs output - and directly employing over 40,000 journalists.*
Figures produced for Public Service Media and News also show that on PSM TV channels, news is the most prominent genre with 400,000+ hours of programming annually, amounting to six hours per day and 26% of all PSM cumulated TV programming hours.
In radio, there are 500,000+ hours of radio news and current affairs per year, making for seven hours of programming per day, equating to one fifth of all PSM radio time.
In addition, PSM have developed complementary online news offers, with 95% operating dedicated news websites and 58% providing news apps. This investment in online addresses the needs and habits of young audiences specifically, with online news services for children offered by 41% of PSM and for youth by 34%.
Overall, news amounts to 28% of programming expenditure and investment continues to grow – 29 public organizations across 25 markets showed an increase of 1.6% of news programming spend between 2018 to 2019.
Reliance on PSM news increases during times of crisis, as audiences look for accurate, verifiable information. In March 2020, PSM outlets responded by offering additional and extended news bulletins on the Coronavirus, as well as dedicated current affairs and talk shows.
In the same time period, daily viewing share of PSM evening news bulletins increased by 20% compared to same time last year. For youth, the increase was even more significant – with an impressive +44% daily share for 15-24 year olds.
Dr David Fernandez Quijada, Head of the EBU’s Media Intelligence Service, said: “These new figures demonstrate that PSM make up Europe’s largest newsroom in terms of dedicated news programming and the numbers of journalists employed. The impact of this – especially in the context of COVID-19 – is crucial, as we’ve seen increased audience demand for trusted, accurate and verified information. These figures in themselves make a robust case for the legitimacy of public service media and their valued role as a crucial element in fostering political and cultural citizenship.”
Public Service Media and News is available to download (non-EBU Members can access the report by registering via ebu.ch).
This report is primarily based on the results of the Media Intelligence Survey, a unique annual collection of data and insights from public service media across the EBU area, performed by the Media Intelligence Service of the EBU.
*Figure correct for 2019.