24/7 TV news websites: Part 1 - Introduction

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 8 January 2008

There has been a massive shift in the distribution methods of the media in the last twenty-five years. First of all cable and satellite delivery of television, coupled with deregulation, vastly increased the amount of spectrum available, allowing commercial news networks to flourish. At the same time, the advent of the Internet allowed small and local operations to have a global presence.

During much of this period, the word 'convergence' was on a lot of people's lips. The gadgets of next year always promised to marry two or more different devices, whether it was the e-book reader that could surf the web, the phone that would make a decent mp3 player, or the legendary fridge that would do your shopping for you.

Convergence has also happened across media companies. Newspapers like The Telegraph now have their own online TV channel, whilst The Guardian has branched out into radio production with their regular podcasts. At the same time, news television stations have used the net to effectively become newspaper publishers.

Generally on currybetdotnet, when I've surveyed the news website landscape I have focussed on the online equivalents of the newspapers published in the UK. However, over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be looking at the websites of the 24/7 news channels that are the most commonly available in Europe, and the UK in particular.

I'll be looking at the websites of Al Jazeera, BBC News, CNN, Euronews, France 24, ITN, Russia Today and Sky News. As ever I'll be looking at the features and usability of their sites, with an eye on the types of so-called Web 2.0 functionality they offer in terms of RSS feeds, social bookmarking, blogs, voting and user-generated content.

To get us started, here is a line-up of facts and figures about each site:

AlJazeera logo  Al Jazeera
URL: http://english.aljazeera.net/
Established on web: English web edition established in 2003
Editions: 1 in English
Languages: Arabic, English
Funding: Advertising revenue, subsidised by the Emir of Qatar
Web advertising: None
Popular feeds in Google Reader: Homepage (2,669 subscribers)
Alexa ranking (Dec 2007): 659 (includes all languages)
Pages indexed in Google (Dec 2007): 27,500
Blog reactions on Technorati (Dec 2007): 52,769

BBC Newslogo  BBC
URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
Established on web: 1997
Editions: English language divided between UK domestic and International editions
Languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic are the principle language services. BBC World Service offers news in 33 languages.
Funding: Mixed model - domestic UK service funded by 'Television Licence Fee'. BBC.com version commercially funded by BBC Worldwide, whilst BBC World Service is directly state funded.
Web advertising: Display advertising for users outside the UK.
Popular feeds in Google Reader: News Front Page, World Edition (311,955 subscribers). News Front Page, UK Edition (16,397 subscribers)
Alexa ranking (Dec 2007): 50
Pages indexed in Google (Dec 2007): 13,000,000
Blog reactions on Technorati (Dec 2007): 1,426,113

CNN logo  CNN
URL: http://www.cnn.com
Established on web: August 30, 1995
Editions: English language divided between US domestic and International editions
Languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Turkish
Funding: Commercial, owned by Time Warner
Web advertising: Display advertising
Popular feeds in Google Reader: CNN.com (52,294 subscribers). CNN.com - World (13,925 subscribers)
Alexa ranking (Dec 2007): 113
Pages indexed in Google (Dec 2007): 2,300,000
Blog reactions on Technorati (Dec 2007): 445,277

Euronews logo  Euronews
URL: http://www.euronews.net/
Editions: 7
Languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian
Funding: Owned by SOCEMIE, a group of 19 brodacasters from Europe, and partially EU funded
Web advertising: Display advertising, Google AdSense and feature sponsorship
Popular feeds in Google Reader: EuroNews in English (266 subscribers)
Alexa ranking (Dec 2007): 990,156
Pages indexed in Google (Dec 2007): 3,720
Blog reactions on Technorati (Dec 2007): 57

France 24 logo  France 24
URL: http://www.france24.com/
Established on web: 2006
Editions: 3
Languages: French, English, Arabic
Funding: State funded partnership between Groupe TF1 and France Télévisions
Web advertising: Display advertising
Popular feeds in Google Reader: France 24 - World (247 subscribers). France 24 - France (157 subscribers).
Alexa ranking (Dec 2007): 12,230
Pages indexed in Google (Dec 2007): 37,700
Blog reactions on Technorati (Dec 2007): 10,699

ITN logo  ITN
URL: http://itn.co.uk/
Editions: 1
Languages: English
Funding: Commercial, joint-owned by ITV plc, Reuters, Daily Mail & General Trust and United Business Media
Web advertising: Display advertising
Popular feeds in Google Reader: Headline News (92 subscribers)
Alexa ranking (Dec 2007): 75,108
Pages indexed in Google (Dec 2007): 23,200
Blog reactions on Technorati (Dec 2007): 1,394

Russia Today logo  Russia Today
URL: http://www.russiatoday.ru/
Established on web: 2005
Editions: 3
Languages: Russian, English, Arabic
Funding: Owned by state news agency, RIA-Novosti
Web advertising: Display advertising
Popular feeds in Google Reader: Russiatoday.ru (18 subscribers)
Alexa ranking (Dec 2007): 90,544
Pages indexed in Google (Dec 2007): 18,500
Blog reactions on Technorati (Dec 2007): 2,012

Sky News logo  Sky News
URL: http://news.sky.com/
Editions: 1
Languages: English
Funding: Commercial, owned by News Corporation via British Sky Broadcasting
Web advertising: Display advertising
Popular feeds in Google Reader: Sky News Home (508 subscribers)
Alexa ranking (Dec 2007): 1,277
Pages indexed in Google (Dec 2007): 173,000
Blog reactions on Technorati (Dec 2007): 69,493

Tomorrow I'll begin my series of in-depth site reviews with a look at Al Jazeera's English edition.

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