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Q&A: What next for Yle News?

Yle is to end daily television news bulletins in English. From 27 February we will devote our resources to reaching audiences online. Here Marjo Ahonen, who heads up Yle's Broadcast Unit, explains the thinking behind the change.

Mies ja nainen tv-studiossa.
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Marjo Ahonen, Head of Broadcast, what changes are in store for Yle News?

The five minute English-language television broadcast at 15:05 will no longer be broadcast from 27 February 2017. The unit will in future focus on social media, online content and continuing radio broadcasts.

The unit's journalists will have more time to focus on topics and themes that interest their target audience, and formats that better reach them. Radio broadcasts will continue on Yle Radio 1 and Yle Mondo, while online content will still be published at yle.fi/news. On social media the unit's most important channels are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The unit will try out several new online formats over the coming months.

What is the target audience for Yle News?

The roughly quarter of a million people resident in Finland whose native language is not Finnish, Swedish, Sámi, Russian or sign language, along with Finland-interested individuals and communities around the globe.

What are the ratings like for the 15:05 broadcast?

According to the latest figures they have averaged between 150,000 and 160,000.

The decision to cancel the broadcasts is not related to their ratings. Yle is aiming to serve niche audiences and make it easier for them to find that content. Daytime television is not ideally suited to this particular audience segment.

Online it's possible to provide a broader and deeper picture of the news than is often possible in a short television or radio broadcast.

What is the goal of the switch?

The changes are linked to a wider reform of Yle's News and Current Affairs department, which aims to improve the company's ability to produce content suitable for new types of media consumption.

The role of online and mobile is increasing in media consumption, and Yle is aiming to make its news and current affairs content more meaningful while also providing a more tailored news service for each individual.

The goal is not to save money, but rather to shift resources to better align with audience preferences and media consumption habits, in line with Yle's strategy. The main target is to improve service online and on mobile, where audiences have already begun to migrate.

We will also experiment with new formats and try to produce more in-depth coverage of the news. Yle News will attempt to produce more of their own stories, as opposed to translations of Finnish work, and deepen their coverage of the news—as well as making the voice of the unit's target audience heard. 

Why was specifically the English language TV broadcast cut?

Daytime television broadcasts in English are a poor way to reach the target audience. Stronger online and mobile services, along with continued radio bulletins, are likely to better serve the international community in Finland.

As a result of the change the small team behind Yle News will have more time to produce their own stories and enrich their output.

What about viewers who don't use the internet, will their service deteriorate?

One main goal of the change is to better target audiences that are already online. Improving the offering of news content is one way of doing this.

Those seeking English language news in traditional broadcast form can listen to broadcasts every day at 15:30 on Radio 1 and at 15:55 on Yle Mondo.

Will this change entail staffing cuts?

The change will have no effect on staffing levels at Yle News.

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