“Diverse and uniquely European”

Campaign speaks with Carolyn Gibson, chief revenue officer at Euronews about the platform’s new verticals and what they promise in a post-Covid world.

How has the year been for Euronews? What effect did Covid have on your business, and on your operations? What were the challenges and how did you tackle them? 

For Euronews, as for most people and companies around the world, 2020 has been a year like no other. Of course, it has been a challenging year, but also a year in which we were truly able to measure, like rarely before, just how crucial delivering impartial, trusted and fact-based news is.

We have seen unprecedented growth in our audiences, especially on our digital platforms. With so many concerns around the virus and its consequences (sanitary, economic, financial, social, etc.), people were eager to consume news from a trusted brand like Euronews. For almost three decades, we have built a wide-reaching media (we are distributed in 160 countries and offer 12 language editions) with a distinctly European perspective and an unwavering editorial line: We strive to empower people to form their own opinion through presenting a diversity of viewpoints and through journalism that is unapologetically impartial. Our viewers trust us and in times where they need accurate information, they come to us.

Whilst our audiences grew exponentially, we also saw, in common with our peers in other media companies, our commercial revenues take a hit. Many of our clients were – and continue to be – affected by the crisis linked to Covid-19, in particular those in the travel and tourism sector that forms an important part of the international news advertising market.

From this experience, we believe there is a lot to learn and many new opportunities to be seized. 2020 has been an unprecedented year to observe fast-evolving consumer habits. This has allowed the media industry to start to plan what a post-Covid world would look like for media, their audiences and their commercial partners. Euronews’ commercial department has been active this year in advising its clients on how to adjust their marketing and communications strategy to “the new normal”. We worked closely with them to interpret audience needs and create engaging content and new products that align to that consumer shift, whether through our in-house creative content studio Embrace or our digital teams to target audiences in new ways.

You launched Euronews Travel just as world travel stopped. What has your experience been from that, and what learnings will you take forward?

We took what some would view as a risk, launching our new travel vertical in 2020. We saw it differently: We wanted to harness our audience growth and create new content that would be forward-looking, speaking to a post-Covid world where the interests of our consumers will have taken a new direction. While health restrictions considerably limited travel in 2020, tourism and travel is truly at a crossroads that also brings new trends, opportunities and ideas for destination and travel trade marketing.

Numerous studies, including our own, have shown that the Covid situation has not reduced audiences’ desire for travel. Quite the opposite, in fact. But the pandemic and its consequences have prompted consumer habits to shift and allowed new travel and tourism trends to emerge. Euronews published a Trend Report in October 2020 identifying six new trends for the sector in 2021.

Our new vertical, Euronews Travel, aims to showcase these fresh perspectives, drawing on strong visual storytelling, and inspirational and informative content. It takes into account new consumer habits and trends, by highlighting destinations and solutions that will drive the future of tourism in a post-Covid world. Euronews Travel speaks to those who are hungry to discover unique experiences and destinations, but not at the cost of the planet and local communities.

Launched in late July, Euronews Travel reached 1.1 million page views in October and more than 10 million impressions on social media two months later in December. We are working with our commercial partners on this exciting new digital destination, especially with those whose forward-thinking values and ideas align with the new trends we have identified for the sector. We will be developing further new products and socially driven content offers for the culturally curious international traveller in 2021.

Which parts of Euronews have been growing, and how do you expect to see that develop further next year? How is the brand changing to accommodate consumer demands?

We have seen audience growth across all our platforms this year. Perhaps where we have seen the most growth is on our digital platforms. For the last three decades, we have delivered strong multi-lingual TV output, which has enabled us today to be one of the most-watched TV news channels in Europe. Every quarter, figures from the key market studies of Global Web Index and Ipsos Affluent reveal that we are in a pre-eminent position compared with other networks in attracting upscale audiences from the key markets of Europe.

While we continue to maintain a high-quality TV offering, we are putting a specific emphasis on developing our digital platforms and creating new ones. This year, our digital presence grew substantially, with an increase of 41 per cent in unique views on our website alone.

We will continue to develop our digital audience and are in the process of launching a portfolio of new video-led thematic verticals. We launched Euronews Living in 2019 (our vertical about eco news and green views); in 2020 we launched Euronews Travel, and in 2021 we will be launching new products linked to business, technology and culture, with more to follow. These are sectors that our audiences are particularly interested in and where Euronews is able to offer a diverse and uniquely European portfolio of content and experiences. These new brands, all fully cross-platform, will offer a range of new opportunities for our existing or new commercial partners to engage more deeply with the Euronews audience.