Generalist channel

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A generalist channel is a television or radio channel whose target audience is not confined to a particular set of people, but instead aims to offer a wide range of programs and program genres to a diverse general public.[1][2][3] The term is mainly used in European countries;[4] in other countries, similar terms such as "general entertainment" is used instead. In radio, this is sometimes referred to as "full-format programming".

Program content[edit]

Generalist TV channels focus on general entertainment.[5][6] They also tend to put an extra emphasis on news programming,[7][8] regarding the provision of news and information as part of their duty.[9]


Generalist channels as a whole are the most watched of all television channels.[10]

As of 2008, generalist channels were the most numerous among channel genres in Europe. There were 376 of them, followed by 324 sports channels, 269 entertainment channels and 238 music channels.[1]

Among HD television channels in Europe, as of 2011 and 2012, generalist channels were third most numerous, with the ones specializing in sport and movies coming out 1st and 2nd respectively.[11][12]

A book published in 2010 cited a study saying that generalist television channels comprised 41 percent of global television market value and accounted for 70 percent of global television market volume.[13]

With the growth in popularity of television, generalist channels such as full service radio greatly declined in radio, and are now mostly limited to public broadcasting stations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chris Forrester. "A Blisteringly Good Year For Europe". SatMagazine. ... analysis of the range of channels available by genre. Among the channels available in Europe in 2008, generalist channels offering a mixture of different programme genres still represent the largest category: 376 channels of this kind are available.
  2. ^ "COMMISSION DECISION of 10 May 2000 relating to a proceeding pursuant to Article 81 of the EC Treaty (Case IV/32.150 — Eurovision)". Official Journal of the European Communities. 2000-06-24. Again, there would normally be one or two generalist channels with mass appeal programming, and further commercial channels which looked more specifically for niches in the market.
  3. ^ Dr. Karol Jakubowicz. "Public service broadcasting: a new beginning, or the beginning of the end?" (PDF). [...]: anything beyond the 1960s model of "one-size-fits-all" traditional generalist channels addressed to the entire population of a country.
  4. ^ Gunn Sara Enli (2013). "Defending Nordic Children Against Disney: PBS Children's Channels in the Age of Globalization" (PDF). Nordicom Review 34 (2013) 1, pp. 77-90. While the European public broadcasters are generalist channels, meaning that they offer mixed programming and aim to attract all target groups, the US public broadcaster offers more specific programming. Generally speaking, European public broadcasters compete with commercial channels in all genres, including entertainment and sports, while PBS in the US has targeted two specific audience segments: children and business people.
  5. ^ "TAM Glossary". Nielsen Television Audience Measurement. Archived from the original on 2015-04-29. Retrieved 2014-10-28. General entertainment TV channel without specific thematic content.
  6. ^ "(Country Report) Mapping Digital Media: Romania" (PDF). Open Society Foundations. Generalist channels continue to focus on entertainment. These stations focus on less well educated audiences while niche stations cater increasingly to younger, more educated audiences.
  7. ^ Minna Aslama (April 2006). "The Diversity Challenge: Changing Television Markets and Public Service Programming in Finland, 1993-2004". The Donald McGannon Communication Research Center.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Ricardo Daniel Santos Faro Marques Ribeiro. "Summarizing Spoken Documents: avoiding distracting content" (PDF). Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. In fact, one needs only to observe the television example, where channels specialized in news dissemination, as well as a multitude of news programs on generalist channels, generate a huge amount of information that summarization may help to deliver to the users, efficiently and in a personalized manner.,
  9. ^ "Television". Telecom Italia Media. Archived from the original on 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2014-10-29. [...], AGCOM laid down the automatic numbering plan for digital terrestrial television channels, assigning former analog channels with information obligations (known as "generalist" channels) the first nine positions and attributing position 7 to La7 and 8 to MTV.
  10. ^ "Political Information Opportunities in Europe : A Longitudinal and Comparative Study of Thirteen Television Systems" (PDF). The International Journal of Press/Politics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2014-10-28. The most widely watched channels are usually "generalist" channels that cater for the whole population and follow a universal program strategy of which political information programs are an important component.
  11. ^ "Europe home to over 600 HD channels". PromaxbDA. Informa Telecoms & Media © Informa UK Ltd. 2012-03-29. Archived from the original on 2014-10-28.
  12. ^ "EBU hits out at threat to digital-terrestrial broadcasting". Cyfrowy Polsat S.A. 2013-05-08. Archived from the original on 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2014-10-28.
  13. ^ David Hogarth (2010-09-01). Realer Than Reel: Global Directions in Documentary. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292796133.