Feb 15 2017
US broadcaster NBC has bought a stake in Euronews, following months of speculation. NBC will get a 25% share in Euronews in the latest ownership shake-up for the channel.
In 2015, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris took a controlling stake in Euronews, with the remaining shares in the channel held by various European public service broadcasters.
The venture will be known as “Euronews NBC”, as part of a $30 million deal, according to US media reports. Rumours of an impending NBC deal to buy a stake in Euronews first surfaced late last year.
Deborah Turness, newly appointed president of “NBC News International”, will oversee NBC’s involvement in Euronews. Her former employer, ITN, held a 49% stake in the channel between 1997 and 2003, during which time the channel was launched in the UK on Sky.
NBC’s takes a stake at a turbulent time for the Lyon, France based channel. In December, reports emerged of a vote of no confidence by staff in the channel’s management following a shift in editorial direction and concerns about political interference regarding its Russian language service.
Editorial content on the channel has changed significantly in recent years, with a new on-screen look and increased use of on-screen presenters for feature segments. Traditionally, Euronews has been without on-screen presenters or reporters with multiple language soundtracks accompanying the channel’s video feed.
For NBC it is a major U-turn since abandoning its 1990s analogue pan-European TV channel NBC Europe, the service that grew out of Super Channel, which relayed NBC News shows including Today, Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News and during its final year on air, simulcasts of the then fledgling MSNBC channel to European audiences.
Business programming was subsequently spun-off to a standalone CNBC Europe channel. On 1st July 1998, NBC Europe was replaced by either National Geographic Channel or CNBC in most European countries. In Germany, NBC Europe continued under a new ownership structure on cable networks for several more years before NBC withdrew completely. With the advent of digital TV, NBC’s owners have concentrated on launching country specific entertainment channels on various pay TV platforms in Europe.
There has already been speculation that NBC might eventually take a controlling stake in Euronews, following the course taken in recent years by Discovery and its rise to power in Europe: Discovery started off with a minority stake in Eurosport before taking complete control of the broadcaster a few years later.