26 September 2023

EUROPE: Media steps up in virus campaign

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A new report from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) praises public service media (PSM) organisations for keeping audiences informed, educated and entertained throughout the continent during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

“Not only that, they have offered vital support as this unprecedented crisis deepens,” the report stated.

“New content offers have helped foster solidarity, brought people together to help tackle the crisis and championed the creative industries.”

It gave the example of Swiss broadcaster, SRF which increased the amount of Swiss music played across its radio channels to support local artists, and Yle, in Finland, which invested in more cultural content to provide home-theatre experiences.

“In the UK, BBC local radio stations are joining up with volunteer groups to help co-ordinate support for the elderly, housebound or those at risk,” it said.

“News remains at the core of PSM’s offer and audiences have been turning to PSM in increasing numbers for accurate, timely information.”

It said public service broadcasters had extended the number of news broadcasts, created dedicated talk shows, provided opportunities for audience interaction and produced special podcasts, to name just a few initiatives.

“Audience data from 18 key European markets shows that many more people are turning to PSM for reliable, real-time news and information on the crisis.”

“At key junctions, the reach of PSM organisations’ evening news bulletins has doubled while daily viewing is up 14 per cent on average. Younger viewers are also tuning in in increasing numbers with daily viewing of the evening bulletins up 20 per cent amongst that age group.”

The EBU report found that PSM organisations have also risen to the challenge of entertaining audiences that were confined at home and deprived of many of their other leisure activities.

Geneva, 25 March 2020

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