World in Brief: The end of satellite news

24-hour television news channels are too wasteful of resources to survive in an internet age

The World Today
1 minute READ

The era of 24-hour satellite news is drawing to a close and these channels are likely to move online in the next five to ten years, according to Professor Richard Sambrook, the former BBC news executive.

The problem for broadcasters such as Sky News and the BBC News Channel is that they have marketed themselves as being first with the news, but that is now impossible.

‘People who are really interested will get the news from Twitter. The one thing the satellite channels could be really good at – news in depth and expanding the agenda – they don’t do,’ Sambrook told a Chatham House under-35s forum on October 30.

‘They are dysfunctional in their impact and cost on the rest of the news organization.’

‘At a time when everything is becoming digital and moving online, I think you are going to see 24-hour news provision be absorbed online as well.’

Sambrook, who is now Professor of Journalism at Cardiff University after retiring as director of BBC global news in 2010, cited reports that CBS was considering entering the 24-hour news market with an online streaming site.

The global news channels which serve as mouthpieces for governments are excluded from Sambrook’s prediction. For them cost is not an issue. China was putting $7.5 billion into extending its broadcast outreach, he said.

By contrast, the Israeli army had taken a cut-price path, creating its own YouTube channel to bypass traditional media.