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A news ticker, sometimes called a "crawler" or "slide", resides in the lower third of the television screen space on television news networks dedicated to presenting headlines or minor pieces of news. It may also refer to a long, thin scoreboard-style display seen around the front of some offices or public buildings. The news ticker has been used in Europe in countries such as United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland for some years, and they are also used in several Asian countries and Australia.
In the United States, tickers were long used on a special event basis by broadcast television stations to communicate weather warnings, school closings, and election results. Sports telecasts used a ticker occasionally to update other contests in progress before the explosion in the number of cable networks or the launch of the internet. Headline News' stock ticker ran continuously while U.S. markets were in trading. The HLN SportsTicker was added and this combination became the first 24-hour continuous news ticker.
Since the growth in usage of the World Wide Web, news tickers have largely syndicated news posts from the Web sites of the broadcasting services which produce the broadcasts.
As the human brain, by design, cannot process two information streams simultaneously many viewers find news tickers highly annoying and will not watch news services that display them.
- 1 Asia
- 2 Australia
- 3 Europe
- 4 North America
- 5 Current uses
- 6 On personal computers
- 7 References in popular culture
- 8 Building news tickers
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Almost all news channels in India use a news ticker. Most of them use two-band tickers, each having a different purpose. Some stations, such as Sahara Samay and News Live, use one of its ticker bands for advertising purposes.
Most of the news tickers used in India are scrolling ones; however, some make an exception. For instance, the normal news ticker in CNN-IBN uses a "flipping" effect, although they use a scrolling-type ticker to display business quotes. During breaking news broadcasts, CNN-IBN places an alternating BREAKING NEWS text and a news title on the upper band; and the news updates regarding to the news event at the bottom band.
There are two nationally broadcast news channels in Indonesia: Metro TV and TV One, and both display a news ticker throughout the day. Local news channels, which broadcast regionally and usually only cover a city or province, also follow this practice. Other national and local channels use a news ticker occasionally, primarily on news programs to show up-to-date news. On other programs, they may use a news ticker to show breaking news or simply to endorse advertisements.
News tickers are used by Astro Awani (in the form of a "flipper" ticker) and Bernama TV. While Astro Awani keeps their ticker on-screen during commercial breaks, Bernama TV does not. It is the case for news programs on TV1, TV2, TV3, NTV7, and TV9.
GEO News uses a single-band scrolling ticker, with a white text on a blue background, and displays news in both English and Urdu. When a breaking news ticker is shown, the background becomes red, and the text (also displayed both in English and Urdu) does not scroll at all; instead it uses an animation to display the text. The upper band was also added during such event, having a white background over a red text. The upper breaking news band displays an alternating BREAKING NEWS text plus the news event title both in English and in Urdu. The channel sometimes incorporates a second news ticker above the normal ticker during certain special coverage.
ARY News also uses a news ticker to display news headlines. Dunya News uses a single-band scrolling ticker, with a white text on a blue background, and displays news in both English and Urdu. When a breaking news ticker is shown, the background becomes red, and the text (also displayed both in English and Urdu) does not scroll at all; instead it uses an animation to display the text. The upper band was also added during such event, having a white background over a red text. The upper breaking news band displays an alternating BREAKING NEWS text plus the news event title both in English and in Urdu. The channel sometimes incorporates a second news ticker above the normal ticker during certain special coverage.
GMA Network was the first Philippine television network to have a ticker during news broadcasts. In the early 2000s, traffic information from  was also being shown, but has since been discontinued. GMA Network now regularly uses news tickers in 24 Oras, Unang Hirit and Saksi. During elections, tickers displaying the latest vote tallies ran even during telenovela broadcasts. In the early 2000s, traffic information from  was also displayed, but this service has since been discontinued.
GMA News TV have two types of news tickers: the one for news programmes is accompanied by a slender and silvery, and is accompanied by a black clock on the left side of the screen; the other one, which is used for public affairs and entertainment programmes (and the news programme, Balita Pilipinas) have a thick, white ticker, with a red bordered clock on the left side of the screen.
ABS-CBN later began using news tickers by 2003, which has improved over the years. ABS-CBN uses tickers during TV Patrol, Umagang Kay Ganda, Bandila and News Patrol. Its news channel ANC also has had its own news ticker since 2005, and has usually placed a stock market ticker provided by the Philippine Stock Exchange (it was actually a Java applet superimposed on the lower third) above the usual news ticker. The stock market ticker only appears on Mornings@ANC and Business Nightly. Their tickers usually have a time clock placed on either the left or the right side of the bar; alongside with the running news information.
Networks which also use news tickers are TV5; the state-owned PTV (which have a ticker even on the non-news programmes), RPN (now 9TV, IBC; as well as UNTV and NET 25, most especially during their own respective news broadcasts.
In South Korea, KBS1, KBS World and MBC TV also use news tickers during their news programmes. If there's a need to, the news tickers may be up even during their non-news programmes. News tickers were first introduced in 2002 on KBS1 and MBC TV for their breakfast news programmes. Later in 2009, KBS World began using news tickers when they show news programmes, especially their own news programme, KBS World News Today.
Currently,[when?] KBS 1TV and KBS World use their news tickers as flippers while MBC TV continues using their original news tickers.
Thailand television has had a news ticker in since 2000 and Twitter ticker (for chat and news information) in since June 2009 by Nation TV. Modernine TV used a news ticker beginning in 6 November 2002 and Stock Exchange Information Ticker used one beginning in the 1990s.
News tickers first appeared on Vietnamese television on June 5, 2010 (main updates to the news programs) on VTV1 only during news programs airing at 6:00, 12:00 and 19:00, along with other updates such as the current time, a new newsroom, and a new news logo.
In Australia, the first major use of news tickers occurred in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001. Since the initial introduction, morning programs Sunrise and Today have kept tickers, although they have both since stopped; Sunrise changed to a news "flipper" (showing one headline on screen for a few seconds before alternating to the next headline, instead of scrolling across the screen) and Today uses a ticker for weather forecast details only.
Sky News Australia maintained a news ticker which used to feature a stream of weather information before the channel updated its graphics. The ticker now provides basic headlines about the latest news and sporting events. The weather information is located on the left, and the time for every Australian and New Zealand time zone on the right.
The ABC Midday Report, along with Seven and Nine's early, morning, and afternoon bulletins have adopted the news ticker. Ten's early morning news program, ABC News Breakfast and the ABC News 24 channel all use a news flipper.
The Bigpond.com website also launched a news ticker in May 2009.
BBC News displays a dark red ticker with white text using the Helvetica font throughout the day, identical to BBC World News, except when trailers, countdowns and weather segments are being broadcast. The ticker switches to a lighter shade of red to display breaking news.
Though modern and efficient news tickers were not created and launched until the "HLN SportsTicker" in 1992 or fully popularized in the United States until September 11, 2001, the first record of a news ticker as part of a regular broadcast is from NBC's Today show on its January 14, 1952 debut edition. Without the benefit of computer-generated headlines and digital on-screen graphics, the ticker was very different from the ones in use today. The Today ticker was an actual piece of paper with typewritten headlines superimposed on the lower third of the screen. The ticker was never very successful as a communications tool and was dropped not long thereafter.
By the 1980s, in northern parts of the United States, many local television stations used a ticker placed over morning local and network newscasts to pass along information on school closings due to weather. Severe weather watch and warning information was also commonly run on local station tickers, later accompanied by a map of an entire state or the station's viewing area (a system known as First Warning). In both cases, the start of the ticker's cycle was often accompanied by an attention signal, such as warning tones or a small jingle from the station's news theme or network (such as the NBC Chimes).
The first network to utilize a continuous ticker was CNN Headline News. During the late 1980s, the ticker featured stock prices during trading hours to compete with the Financial News Network. In 1992, the "HLN SportsTicker" launched and the combination created the first continuous non-stop 24-hour ticker on television.
CNBC and forerunner network Financial News Network also debuted a ticker featuring stock prices during business hours. However prior to 1996, these stock tickers could only show preselected stocks making the system highly manual and clumsy. The first fully automated stock ticker to appear on television was in 1996 on the CNNfn network.
By the mid-1980s, ESPN featured an update ticker at the top and bottom of each hour called the ":28/:58 update," scrolling up-to-the-minute sports scores and news. By 1996, spin-off network ESPN2 debuted a ticker, dubbed the "BottomLine," which featured non-stop sports scores and news nearly 24 hours a day. ESPNEWS, after a 2000 redesign of its on-air look became the first network to keep their ticker on-screen during commercial breaks. ESPNU, which launched on March 4, 2005, became the second. As of September 5, 2009, all of the ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU and ESPN Classic) now keep their respective tickers on continuously during commercial breaks.
While news tickers had been used occasionally by other networks over the years, it was the September 11 attacks of 2001 that made the news ticker a ubiquitous part of the television news experience. Needing a way to provide a continuous stream of vital but repetitive emergency information to viewers, Fox News Channel placed a ticker on-screen at 10:49 a.m. CNN launched its own ticker at 11:11 a.m., and MSNBC started one at approximately 2 p.m. Although the need for attack-related tickers lasted only a few weeks, the management at all three major U.S. news channels quickly decided that news tickers would help increase viewership among viewers with the ability to process multiple simultaneous streams of information. As a result, the tickers have been permanent features on all three channels ever since, except during some documentary programming, presidential speeches, or other selected programs.
In recent years, American cable news networks have used their news ticker to let viewers offer their opinions on the stories being covered, or depending on the occasion, sending messages to friends. During its coverage of New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square in New York City, Fox News Channel lets viewers text well-wishes to family and friends for later broadcast on the news ticker. CNN also used its ticker during Rick Sanchez's news hour on CNN Newsroom to give their opinions on stories that Sanchez was covering at that moment.
CNN Headline News/HLN
In 1992, the "HLN SportsTicker" was test-launched on the GCTV cable system and then launched nationally in December 1993, creating the first continuous 24-hour ticker on television. The "HLN SportsTicker" ran professional sports and a deep roster of college sports scores and experimented with in-game sports news such as pitching changes, time remaining, injury reports and statistics. The idea for the "HLN SportsTicker" first met with resistance by some CNN news anchors and executives.
Before the popularization of the Internet, the "HLN SportsTicker" was the first available method of getting this information in real time to viewers rather than waiting for the local news, morning newspapers or ESPN's SportsCenter. At the time, many newspapers and even ESPN were not covering college scores outside of the top 25 teams on the AP Poll, among the approximately 110 football and over 200 basketball teams. The HLN SportsTicker's presentation was organized by conference and covered every team in Division I including women's basketball, men's baseball and hockey.
Another innovation of the HLN SportsTicker was the fully automated combination of computer-generated graphics with a wire news service. Jim Alexander, Director of CNN Research who proposed (on October 13, 1989) and developed the HLN SportsTicker, worked with Ken Mullins who created the computer programming to recognize the conventions and labels in the wire service data and convert them into the words and symbols displayed along the screen. The speed of the scroll and font type became important as to not distract the viewers from content on the rest of the screen, but readable for the new viewers that started coming to the network for the ticker itself. The additional viewing (+60% M25–54 Sat 3–10 pm Q4 1994) demonstrated a market for this type of data and the ability of people to visually navigate a screen with more than one set of content. Over time, Headline News began providing more information through tickers, including news headlines and weather information; now known as HLN, the channel eventually limited use of a ticker to news headlines, and eventually discontinued it altogether by 2011 (with the exception of those used on certain programs such as Showbiz Tonight to display viewer comments to stories featured on the program).
Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel, an American sister channel to Sky News, was the first news network in the United States to debut a permanent news ticker, at 10:49 a.m, on the morning of the September 11 attacks in 2001. The ticker featured yellow-lettered sentences on a black band, with a general "FOX" logo in between them. From 2001 to 2004, the ticker featured an Helvetica Narrow font, after which it was replaced by a normal Helvetica font that was used until 2013, when the font switched to Avenir. For a certain period in 2007, the text was colored blue, but beginning with the September 24, 2007 edition of the Fox Report, the text returned to a yellow color. For a time in late 2007 and 2008, the ticker's band was translucent before going back to a black band. In 2008, a specific "Fox News" logo was placed between the ticker's sentences, replacing the "Fox" logo. In 2013, the "Fox News" logo between the ticker's sentences was replaced by a shortened "FNC" logo. Fox News' ticker is only removed from on-screen use during the network's late-night airings of the talk show Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld and also during coverage of the annual State of the Union Address.
Less than half an hour after the debut of Fox News' ticker during the 9/11 attacks, CNN launched its own, at 11:11 a.m. The ticker became a staple on the network for the next seven years. It was given only a few, minor changes during its run, and always featured yellow-lettered sentences on a black band, with the CNN logo in between them. This made the ticker quite similar to the Fox News ticker. On Headline News (now HLN), CNN's sister channel, the ticker was the same except for a blue band, not black. CNN/U.S. and Headline News discontinued the ticker with the introduction of new on-screen graphics on December 15, 2008. It was replaced by a "flipper" ticker which had already been in use previously only on CNN International; in 2012, after being trialed during its morning show, the ticker was modified to be split into categories in a similar manner to ESPN's BottomLine (a parsing error resulted in the animation that was intended to display each news category to be displayed as a simple static arrow followed by the name of the current and forthcoming category on other programs for several months). The traditional scrolling ticker was brought back on February 18, 2013, beginning with white text on a dark blue background, but changed on the next day to blue text on a shadowed white and grey background. Breaking news headlines and network promotions are shaded in red and blue respectively, while the entire ticker turns dark red during breaking news coverage and the entire ticker turns blue for network promos. On August 11, 2014 (the same day the network updated is graphics package), the ticker was changed to a white text on a black background. As of 2013, the ticker is only deactivated entirely during special event coverage and primetime programming.
During federal election coverage, the entire ticker is replaced by a larger pane showing more details (such as responses to live polling during debates and speeches, and results from the various ridings).
MSNBC, the cable counterpart of NBC News, was the last cable news network to debut a ticker on 9/11, at 2:00 p.m. Like Fox News and CNN, MSNBC's ticker had yellow letters, but the ticker's band was slightly transparent. When the network's on-screen graphics were revamped in 2006, the ticker was also changed. The new ticker had white letters, and the band was dark gray. The MSNBC ticker is seen during the network's morning and daytime broadcasts, but is removed during live prime-time broadcasts of The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Hardball and The Rachel Maddow Show. The ticker is also absent during broadcasts of MSNBC Documentaries, and during the daytime shows that show a "rundown banner" (The Daily Rundown and The Dylan Ratigan Show).
The ticker was changed on June 29, 2009 to a flipper-style ticker similar to that of CNN, coinciding with the beginning of high-definition broadcasts on MSNBC. The design also repositioned other graphic elements such as the network logo, series logo, time, stocks and "live" indicator as a bar on the top of the screen, a first for a non-sports- or non-business-oriented specialty news network in the United States. The ticker eventually changed back to a scrolling format, with categories for each genre of news story switching to the stories through an arrow animation. During election coverage, the upper bar and lower ticker (displaying a live vote percentage tally) are both colored deep blue and kept persistent during commercial time.
CNBC, a business news network operated by NBC and MSNBC parent company Comcast, uses a special ticker to monitor the values of securities and indexes on the stock market. This ticker has been employed by the network since its inception in 1989. CNBC uses two tickers on its lower-third: an upper ticker with a white band and a lower ticker with a dark-blue band. The white ticker monitors market and commodity summaries, while the blue ticker monitors stocks. The tickers run at slightly different speeds. The blue ticker also reports news headlines and weather forecasts. CNBC's graphics also show a rotating ticker, partitioned into three segments, showing index and security prices. These tickers is also appear and visible during CNBC's prime-time programming, along with paid programming, after the exchanges were closed between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. ET. Computers at that time could not keep up with the full stock feed and as such the ticker could only show preselected stocks making the system highly manual and clumsy. The first fully automated stock ticker to appear on television was in 1996 on the CNNfn network.
CNNfn, a now-defunct business news network operated by CNN, was the first to create a fully automated stock ticker for television. Until 1996, computers were not able to maintain the entire stock feed in memory to enable delaying everything by 15 minutes. Previous tickers implementations were preselected subsets of the feed and could not automatically select stocks of interest without manual intervention. Working with SGI and Standard and Poor's data feed, Nils B. Lahr, a developer at CNNfn, developed the first system that could delay the entire stock market while also displaying it dynamically on television as a ticker. This was a major advancement, as the viewers, for the first time, understood that the ticker represented all available stocks and thus would reflect any vital changes without manual intervention or pre-selected stock selections.
- The morning shows of the three main broadcast networks in the United States – Today on NBC, Good Morning America on ABC (whose ticker is also used on the early morning newscast America This Morning), and CBS This Morning on CBS – display their own tickers during the programs. However, in some markets, local network affiliates display their own tickers over the network's. In the case of Today, no ticker may be seen depending on the market, as NBC designed the ticker for affiliates to use to display local news headlines and does not provide a fallback headline scroll featuring national and international news stories; CBS This Morning similarly does not provide a universal news ticker and individual CBS stations may instead use a ticker designed to match the program's graphical scheme. GMA features a fallback national ticker. All three feature at minimum the local time and temperature.
- The Weather Channel, a weather-centric cable news channel co-owned by NBCUniversal, Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, uses a ticker which (as of 2010) displays the current temperature in the viewer's area, forecasted conditions, and the current time by time zone. During severe weather, the ticker turns from blue and gold to a red or orange background, with a beeping alert noise and a ticker indicating a severe weather warning or watch being issued within range of the viewer's location by the National Weather Service. Viewers of satellite providers do not receive this ticker on their broadcasts, as it is inserted at the cable head-end for cable television viewers and is localized for that area. Beginning sometime in 2012, The Weather Channel began using a black scrolling ticker above the local LDL with white text and red accents during severe weather events. And in 2013, they debuted a permanent ticker along with their "Weather All The Time" campaign. The ticker features weather headlines and forecasts constantly, even through commercials to supplant the local information below it. This ticker features white text on a dark navy blue background usually separated into sections, which are shown on the far left of the ticker as black text on a white background.
- Local television stations (mainly major network affiliates) may air severe warnings from the National Weather Service by way of a ticker, accompanied by a beeping alert tone (or in the case of WEWS-TV, part of the news theme) and an automated voice message. The ticker may appear at the lower-third or upper-third of the screen, depending on the station. Other local ticker situations involve informing viewers of programming notices, including pre-emptions and moves due to other factors, or to inform viewers of station contests.
- The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), an evangelical Christian broadcast network based in Costa Mesa, California, employs an on-screen digital feature much like a ticker during its programs, especially Praise the Lord and Behind the Scenes. The ticker features white italicized Garamond lettering on a band displaying a swirling mix of blue colors. Instead of news, TBN's ticker typically announces special events and program tapings at TBN studios, messages encouraging viewers to ask cable and satellite providers to carry its digital multicast networks during weekend blocks of Smile of a Child TV and JUCE TV programming, and occasional information on upcoming programs. The tickers last the entire length of Behind the Scenes episodes, but are more prudently used during editions of Praise the Lord and periodically during other programs.
- For music and music video channels, the usage of a ticker has varied. IMX (later Daily Download), which ran from 2003 to 2006 on Fuse, used a ticker to display the current scores (or "stock value") of bands, albums, music videos and television offerings according to the online game played by users of IMX's website; the values of the properties were influenced by current Billboard charts and concert sales, among other criteria. MTV, since 2008, features a music ticker for the musical works and artists used in commercials. Current tickers during music video programming mainly feature social media content such as fan requests and "shout outs" from sources such as Twitter and Facebook, along with music news headlines usually sourced to the network's website.
- C-SPAN's television channels display news tickers, which announce political and legal news items and upcoming live broadcasts.
Like the United States, tickers are typically used by 24-hour news channels such as CBC News Network and CTV News Channel (the latter using CNN's now-former "flipper" format, the latter traditional and shown during commercial breaks as well), but also during local morning shows.
The presentation of headlines or other information in a news ticker has become a common element of many different news networks. The use of the ticker has been different on a number of different channels:
- Financial news channels use two or more tickers progressing at different speeds, displaying stock prices and business headlines.
- Networks with a focus on sports often use a slightly different system, where scores and status of current and finished games are displaced one by one, along with minor sports highlights, statistics and sports news headlines.
- News networks commonly use a setup in which news headlines are scrolled across the bottom half of the screen, though some variations have formed, such as CNN International presenting them without a scrolling effect, and showing one headline at a time.
- Usage of the scroller has also grown in use by a number of local stations for their newscasts, used during severe weather events to provide information about storms and areas affected by them, in addition to other uses, such as presented school delays and cancellations during winter weather in some regions, and the presentation of headlines alike to the general news networks (such as the manner used by station groups like Hearst Television and Sinclair Broadcast Group in the United States).
Due to their prevalence currently, they have been occasionally been made targets of pranks and vandalism. For example, News 14 Carolina used a ticker where viewers could submit relevant information such as school closings or traffic delays via telephone or the Internet, and in February 2004 the system was exploited to display humorous messages, including the infamous "All your base are belong to us". In other examples, some businesses and organizations used the snow closing tickers as a surreptitious source for free guerrilla marketing, proclaiming they were open rather than closed and giving their phone number if possible, allowing them to 'advertise' on a television station all day for free. Since then, many stations have required pre-registration of businesses or organization with an authorized representative and a signed affidavit on company letterhead affirming their authenticity, along with filtering out unfamiliar businesses and organizations, before being able to display their closing announcements. Stations also confirm all closings involving school districts with authorized officials to prevent situations where students either show up to canceled classes in dangerous conditions, or do not attend school due to an erroneous, prank-submitted, or false listing.
On personal computers
Various applications have been developed over time to install news tickers on personal computer screens using RSS feeds of news channels. The applications display news tickers in a similar fashion as television channels but enable the user to access to underlying news stories, a feature the traditional television channel does not offer. Examples of news ticker providers are MyTikka, ReTickr and Snackr.
A ticker may also be used business where important information needs to be delivered to staff, an unobtrusive method of delivering news is via a news ticker. The ticker can be set to re-occur, stay on screen, or be put into retract mode (where a small tab is left visible on screen). SnapComms Desktop News Feed Tool is a software solution that allows communications teams the ability to send these news tickers to staff.
In the UK, broadcasters have stopped using this technology as other forms of communications have become available and increased in popularity. BBC News discontinued its desktop ticker in March 2011 after deciding to focus on other products, such as smartphone applications, in which to send updates of breaking news and sport stories. Sky News has also discontinued using a PC ticker.
References in popular culture
The use of news tickers has also been parodied on a number of programs, including an episode of The Simpsons from 2003 (Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington), as well as a sketch on Saturday Night Live. Films such as Austin Powers in Goldmember sometimes place jokes within news crawls seen on screen. The Onion News Network uses a parody ticker to offer jokes in its online newscasts. The Australian show CNNNN went a step further: although it featured a joke news ticker throughout the show, one episode had a news ticker summarizing the initial news ticker, as well as one for the sight impaired, which covered the whole screen.
Building news tickers
The most famous news ticker display is the "zipper" that circles One Times Square in New York City. The New York Times erected the first such display in 1928, and now several buildings in midtown Manhattan feature such a display. A similar display appears on the exterior of the Fox News/News Corporation headquarters in the west extension of Manhattan's Rockefeller Center. Another ticker, displaying the latest stock details, is also located in Times Square.
When NBC renovated 10 Rockefeller Center to accommodate the Today show in 1994, a red-LED ticker was added to the perimeter of the building at the juncture of the first and second floors. The ticker is visible to spectators in Rockefeller Plaza and passersby on West 49th Street and updates continuously, even when the show is off the air.
In Australia, the Seven Network has a ticker that wraps around the Seven News Headquarters in Martin Place. This ticker is identical to the ticker that is seen on Seven Early News, Seven Morning News and Seven News at 4.30.
- Poniewozik, James (November 24, 2010). "The Tick, Tick, Tick of the Times". TIME.
- Poulsen, Kevin (March 5, 2004). "Wags hijack TV channel's on-screen ticker". The Register.
- "Closing the BBC News Desktop Alert and Ticker". BBC News. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Sky ticker". Sky Media. Retrieved 22 June 2012.