Wednesday, February 15, 2017

NBC Buys Into Euronews, Makes Exec Changes

Comcast Corp.’s NBC News, looking to strengthen its international coverage, acquired a stake in Euronews, a Lyon, France-based news service that will extend its reach to 277 million new households.

According to Bloomberg, NBC bought a 25 percent stake in Euronews for $30 million. The company is majority owned by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, along with a consortium of European broadcasters. Euronews employs almost 500 journalists.

Deborah Turness, the U.S.-based president of NBC News, will head the company’s international news operation, according to a statement from the network Tuesday. Noah Oppenheim, who has been leading the “Today” show, will become the president of NBC News, with both reporting to Andy Lack, chairman of the network’s news division.

Noah Oppenheim
The acquisition fulfills a long-held NBC goal -- of establishing global presence for the company’s news organization, Lack said in a memo to colleagues. Turness, a U.K. native who once ran Britain’s ITV News, has been at NBC more than three years, where she supervised the transition of anchor Brian Williams to MSNBC and his replacement by Lester Holt.

The investment will allow NBC to reach out to 277 million new households in 13 languages across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Euronews was created in the wake of the 1990 Gulf War as a "European CNN" and used to be owned by a consortium of state-owned European channels before Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris took a 53 percent stake in the broadcaster.

Deborah Turness
The NY Times is reporting Lack is rewarding Mr. Oppenheim, who in less than two years has brought “Today” back into a competitive position with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” NBC News’s most significant properties — “NBC Nightly News,” “Meet the Press” and “Today” — are all in good shape, and it will be Mr. Oppenheim’s job to keep them there. He’ll also have to find a way to integrate Megyn Kelly into NBC’s morning schedule, where she will face huge expectations and tough competition.

In his memo, Mr. Lack said that “one of the signs of a healthy and thriving newsroom is the ability to find a worthy successor within your own walls.”

Ms. Turness, a 49-year-old native of Britain who was recruited to NBC from ITV News in Britain in 2013, will return to Europe to help manage an initiative that is important to the network and Mr. Lack. (Phil Griffin will remain in charge of MSNBC.)

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