The Power of All-News Television in Romania: Small Revenues, Big Political Influence

An analysis of the financial and audience metrics of “entertainment” broadcasting as compared to all-news broadcasting

By Iulian Comanescu

Pioneered in 2001 by Realitatea TV, a network striving to become a “Romanian CNN”, the all-news television sector has emerged as a prominent segment in the Romanian media landscape. Serving as a platform for political discourse and propaganda, these broadcasters host a plethora of talk-shows featuring politicians, politically aligned commentators (referred to locally as “analysts”), and purportedly impartial observers who often function as opinion journalists. Dominating the airwaves, these talk-shows took over much of the space of the traditional newscasts, which have dwindled in length, quality, and originality. 

The segment in question is not unique to the Romanian market. Given its content, a more appropriate label for it would be “opinion television” or “propaganda television” rather than “news”. Accusations of political bias, propaganda, and dissemination of fake news are commonly associated with these channels, and in numerous instances, these allegations have been substantiated. 

All-news channels cater to a more limited audience compared to their commercial, entertainment-focused counterparts, yet they still hold sway over a significant segment of the public. However, their revenue streams pale in comparison, falling one magnitude order below that of commercial channels. 

The advent of “entertainment” or “commercial” television in Romania, dating back to the 1990s, marked a significant shift in the media landscape with the introduction of American films, glamorous floor shows, and hefty advertising income. Pro TV and Antena 1 were among the trailblazers in this sector, later joined by Kanal D in 2007. In contrast, the emergence of all-news television, known for their modest production values, is a more recent development, beginning in the early 2000s. 

All-news televisions vs. commercial television: audience and financial performance

Given that all three of Romania’s main commercial (“entertainment”) television networks boast a multitude of satellite channels catering to diverse entertainment genres, an analysis of the collective viewership share of each broadcasting conglomerate proves both feasible and relevant.

The financial data for commercial (“entertainment”) provided encompasses a variety of revenue streams, including radio and online sources, but these revenues are relatively insignificant in comparison to those generated by television. As such, the figures presented offer a reliable overview of the financial performance of the channels themselves.

Overview of the all-news television segment in Romania

The all-news television segment is a relatively small and opaque market in spite of the high number of players. The cumulative viewership of all-news channels is smaller than that of the dominant market player, Pro TV, with a share of 16.07% versus 19.92%. Nevertheless, the three largest all-news networks secure positions within the top 10 channels in Romania, ranking at 4th, 5th, and 8th place, respectively.

The viewership of smaller all-news channels such as B1 TV, N24 Plus, TVR Info, Aleph News, and Prima News is even lower than the audience of global niche channels like AMC (1.08%) and Cartoon Network (0.9%). With a share of audience as low as 0.02% for Prima News, the number of viewers amounts to a meager 3,500-4,000.

Financial data for three of the nine all-news channels is currently unavailable. This includes N24 Plus and Prima News, both owned by larger broadcast groups. TVR Info is the news channel of the public service broadcaster, and has a small audience compared to TVR1, its flagship channel, not to mention that TVR 1 itself only had a 1.37% audience share in January 2023. The lack of financial transparency in some cases raises concerns about potential political involvement and questionable practices.

Despite the absence of complete data, it can be estimated that the all-news television market is worth approximately €52m, significantly smaller in comparison to the €363m commercial (“entertainment”) television sector. This stark contrast in market size is evident, regardless of any potential missing data. The net profit remains in the negative territory, largely attributed to the underperformance of Aleph News.

There are significant differences between revenues and profit margins among broadcasters, which suggest a lack of a proven business model for all-news channels. In one case, Realitatea TV, there’s a steep decline in revenue after 2013, which is hard to imagine in a normal, advertising-driven market, from nearly €410,000 to €5.27 in 2022. The 2022 results may be explained by the shift of the broadcaster’s operations from the company holding the broadcast license to  another business.


The datasets within the Global Media Finances Map allow a granular analysis of the all-news television sector, offering insights beyond traditional commercial advertising expenditure comparisons. The data includes various revenue sources such as TV advertorials, political advertising segments, and propaganda content unlabeled as such.

Nevertheless, in markets such as Romania, the prevalence of incomplete data sets is common. A comparison between commercial (“entertainment”) broadcasters and all-news channels reveals a distinct lack of transparency in areas where political influence is suspected. While allegations of propaganda and manipulation fall outside the purview of this analysis, it is worth noting that television owners often have ties to the political sphere or are, in certain instances, former politicians themselves. 

On the other hand, various surveys concur that television serves as the primary source of information in Romania. The commercial sector predominantly airs entertainment and tabloid news and the public broadcaster remains relatively feeble. Therefore, demand for politically significant, impartial news in Romania remains subject to the whims of the companies in the television news segment.

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