(July 2015 small update: As the FT is bought by Nikkei, it is interesting to look back at previous attempts across borders. Including 3 involving the FT itself, and one by its sister media The Economist. All these four failed…)
I count around 30 attempts to develop ‘European media’ since the EU was set-up in 1958 (no, I was not born). Including nearly 20 by what can be called ‘media groups’. Depending on how you count, nearly 10 of these media still exist, but I think not all will make it to 2020.
The list of attempts offers lessons and hopes
The list below is roughly chronological, non-exhaustive, but recalling most attempts by media companies to tackle the EU news or pan European media market. This ranges from specialised and Brussels-centric to broad and semi-national concepts with some European ambition. Plus I added some of the EU institution projects that claim to be media (as opposed to just ‘social media’ or sheer websites)
Legend: (not scientific, comments welcome at the bottom)
- † : closed or nearly dormant
- SOLD: acquired and modified ambition
- ? : dependent on one main client, or unproven yet in my opinion
- ?? : even more struggling
- [not directly independent ‘European media’, but relevant part of landscape]
- (No marking): independent media, not a failure at this stage
- In bold: those I guess have involved medium to large size money. And from these, underlined: most promising concepts, in my humble opinion, some stopped, some of them still growing.
Why did most of them not succeed?
Having a vibrant European political landscape would of course help: it’s a chicken and egg question.
Now let’s move to what actually happened over the past decades, and what’s possibly cooking.
Media before their times?
- ? Agence Europe (the grandfather of them all, downsized)
- ? SOLD: Eurexpansion (L’Expansion, Handelsblatt, Milano Finansa etc), now reduced to Europolitique
- [ † BBC Radio medium wave 648, had news in EN / FR / DE]
- † The European (Maxwell, then Barclays brothers)
- † L’Européen (Christine Okrent and Le Monde)
- [Europe editions of international print magazines: not EU focused, most went national, global, or folded]
- † Joint venture WSJ/Handelsblatt (shrunk, in different form: WSJ-Europe. See below: Handelsblatt Global Edition)
- SOLD & Rebranded: International Herald Tribune, Paris, integrated as ‘New York Times International’
- SOLD to disappear: European Voice (The Economist, seldom broke even, sold to a Paris event organiser DII). Latest, see below: in Spring 2015, European Voice will disappear, and give way to the start of Politico.eu.
Around internet, lower barriers from the 90’s
- [EU official websites: plenty, notably Europa.eu and Europarl.eu, also country-targeting ones led by Commision ‘rep Offices. Also State-backed ones, e.g. Touteleurope (France), Eurotopics (Germany, press reviews) etc]
- [Plus UK titles growing readership in EU circles: The Economist and Financial Times, now more global than European. And The Guardian, still growing]
- † Europe Online (Burda, Lagardère etc), leading to this website:
- ?? EUBusiness
- Euronews, mainly public sector, still growing but financially challenged (updated feb 2015: will increase its capital, including Sawiris Egyptian group, who will take the majority)
- EurActiv, still growing, publishes in 12 EU languages & teams in 12 EU capitals
- Rebranded: EUPolitix (Huveaux then DODS, now refocused, notably Parliament Magazine)
- † FT Deutschland (closed. Pearson tried to have a series of business newspapers: Les Echos in France, Expansion in Spain were acquired then sold)
- † La Quinzaine de Bruxelles (with Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace), followed by † L’Européenne de Bruxelles
- ? (plus many smaller website & blog teams, some struggling, some going, some with national angles: EuropaDigital, Myeurop, AquiEuropa, Contexte, some multilingual like Cafébabel, some English only like EUObserver, some with print: New Europe, E-Sharp, some focused on videos in English: Vieuws, EUReporter, one print distributed as in-flight: European Business Review)
Recent & probably upcoming?
- ? EU Insight (DPA agency, partly downsized)
- [M-LEX, high-end but few readers]
- † Presseurop (EU Commission-funded, contracted to Courrier Int’l (groupe LeMonde), stopped)
- † EuroparlTV (European Parliament, about to refocus as EP TV)
- [plus non-journalistic websites feeding on others’ content, eg Google News, Yahoo News etc, little EU angle so far]
- ? Handelsblatt Global Edition in English, just started
- ? Huffington Post Global / WorldPost
- ? Springer / Politico Europe? In Spring 2015, European Voice will disappear, and give way to the start of Politico.eu.
And some others I do not recall or don’t know yet? A reminder please? Thanks for your input by email or Twitter (please using #Media4EU).