Media: Euronews is given short shrift

This year is one of change for Euronews, the 24-hour broadcaster with a global news agenda.

It has appointed Ali Sheikholeslami as a permanent correspondent in London and is expanding its global network by opening bureaux in Paris, Kiev, Istanbul, Dubai, Washington and Beijing.

Euronews is also launching a multi-platform offer with an internet radio station; iPhone, iPad and Android apps; and is to produce in-flight news bulletins on Air France flights and on internet-connected TV sets. But UK PROs are divided over whether it is a media outlet worth targeting.

For those unfamiliar with the channel, it broadcasts stories with an international focus, but uses local journalists to present the stories in ten different languages. It employs 370 journalists from 20 nationalities, mostly based in the channel's HQ in Lyon.

The channel's director of news and programmes Lucian Sarb believes Euronews differs from its rivals. He says this is because it broadcasts the most relevant international stories for its European audience with a European perspective, not an American one like CNN, or British like BBC Worldwide.

For PROs, the attraction is the channel's reach - it is available to 350 million households in 155 countries - and its audience of European business leaders.

GolinHarris director Alexis Dalrymple, whose client Infosys was interviewed by Euronews at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, said: 'Is it a good broadcaster to get your clients on? Absolutely. Although it does not have the impact of CNN or BBC Worldwide, it does hit a slightly different audience, which, depending on who you are trying to reach, makes it worth targeting.

'The interviewer is nearly always the researcher. This creates a great conversational dynamic when you are arranging briefings, which means both Euronews and your clients have the opportunity to put their point across.'

However, some PROs are less impressed with the channel's impact. 'For our clients operating in the financial space, Euronews is not viewed as a key target,' says Capital MS&L's account director Tom Steiner. 'We see the value of reaching key investor audiences via broadcast outlets such as CNBC and Bloomberg TV. Euronews does not have the cachet to compete against these.'

Euro RSCG London PR board director Andrew Robinson is more cutting: 'Reaching 350 million households is great, but I am not convinced even ten households actually watch it. Euronews has made inroads into doing more presenter-led features, but I can't recall any client wanting to feature on it.'

If these comments seem harsh, the feeling is mutual. Sarb is dismissive of press releases trying to sell products and keeps his journalists as far away as possible from 'all this PR'. So beware - unless you have serious global news, press rel-eases are unlikely to hit home.


Reach: 350 million homes (souce: Euronews)

Launched: 1993

Journalists: 370

Headquarters: Lyon, France

Contact: For PR and partnerships - Gregoire de Rubiana, director of external relations;

Editorial -

A MINUTE WITH ... Lucian Sarb, director of news and programmes, Euronews

- How does Euronews work?

We cover world news but in local languages. Ten journalists will each work on the same story in their own language, overseen by a duty editor, to ensure the international stories are relevant for the individual audiences. If you translate, you lose the flavour of the language and might not explain the story properly. We have ten services, and will launch an 11th - Ukrainian - in August.

- Who watches Euronews?

It is for those interested in international events and what is happening around the world. Domestic channels are covering less and less of these items. Our viewers are middle to upperclass decision-makers, business leaders and world travellers.

- Who are Euronews' rivals?

Our direct rivals are CNN International, Al-Jazeera and BBC Worldwide, but because we are in local languages we are also perceived to be a local news channel, so we compete against those too.

- How should PROs make contact?

They should speak to the director of external relations Gregoire de Rubiana. PROs are good and professional in their approach, but they have their own interests. Our stories are very balanced and credible, so I want my newsroom to be like a laboratory. The journalists could be influenced by PROs, so I have a very strong filter.

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