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Cable News Network (CNN) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

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Twentieth century has been marked as the information revolution due to the influx of information and advent of technology. The increase in international and local events has resulted to the increase of people’s need to media based communication to acquire the most reliable information. Through these new technologies, people now can obtain news stories and events immediately.  It is at this point where individuals decide on what channel to watch, in as much as these global events, tends to influence their daily lives.

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As of to date, the Cable News Network (CNN for short) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC for brevity) are the two top most and prominent international television organization. These two companies are said to be the vital source of news and happenings in the world. They serve as the lighthouse for the world’s viewers.   As such, they tend to compete to gain a large share of viewers.


As a backgrounder, CNN came into existence in 1980.

  It was founded by the well know TV personality Ted Turner. After several years of operation with an international goal for his network, Turner was able to establish satellite transmission in the United States. This enabled CNN to acquire an access to Japan. By 1985, it has already commenced to serve European countries. It then conquered Soviet Satellite Satsionar to cover Soviet Union, Middle East then Africa. As a business entity, laws regulated CNN. Therefore, CNN earns its profit from its subscribers, and through transmission of its programs and news to other channels. This network gets its news from Associated Press and Reuters. Moreover, it also acquires articles from its affiliates from their base representing its national point of view.

On the other hand, BBC started out as World Service Television (WSTV). As a WSTV, it only produces entertainment programs. Thus, transformation took place on 1992 when the British government took over the organization. As such, it cannot air advertisements. Nevertheless, it earns its profit by selling it programs locally and abroad such as books, videotapes and other similar products. BBC gets its news also from the Associated Press and Reuters. Furthermore, it also enters into joint venture in increasing it markets globally. At present, CNN already airs it programs over Europe, India, and America and had already set up a Hong Kong based television organization to air its programs in Asia.

It is of everyone’s knowledge that these two-television networks are rivals in the international scene in news broadcasting scene even though BBC’s headquarters is located in London and CNN’s based is in Washington.

The paper aims to discuss which between the two broadcasting company is a better network, BBC or CNN. To determine, a comparison of the two networks is necessary.

As to the presentation of its news program, CNN reports news and events by separating from its main news its sports news. The said programs were separated by inserting commercials and advertisements. Moreover, the presenters of the news had already bid goodbye to its viewers before the sports news is presented. On the other hand, BBC separates by an interval of several minutes its weather forecast from its main news and headlines.

It is also noted that the two networks end its news program differently. CNN bid to its viewers by saying goodbye, which actually terminates the program. While in BBC, the presenters end their program by recapitulating and enumerating the main happenings/ headlines of the day before terminating the program.

One of the important aspects of reporting is the presentation of news program by the discussion between the presenter and reporter or expert. In CNN, most of its program conducts only a maximum of two live conversations per newscast while in BBC, it is done on a per newscast basis.

Based on the foregoing, BBC has a longer time newscast program than CNN.

As regards the subject matter, CNN is following a strict order since greater parts of the news bulletin are made up of matters about international relations and political affairs of different countries.  It is said that only a small portion remains for other news. For BBC, it is said that an average of six (6) news articles regarding matters of politics and diplomacy event are aired and that other consists of nationally important happenings.

On other significant features of news programming, CNN reports is said to be presented in an America style with lot of American content despite of the use of non-American newscasters. It does the most comprehensive coverage of local news in America and abroad. (Brown, 2000) As for the BBC, the output is said to be a mixture in as much as it combines news from all of the different part of the world in British European perspective of service.


However, going down to the main issue, still most says that CNN is still the most subscribed news network since it has the best distributing capability far reaching places that the BBC network can reach. Thus, it said to be the universal news channel.  It is the channel that people turns to every time an important happening took place.  Moreover, more people still prefer CNN because it covers news in a more comprehensive manner since it only presents what had actually happen, whilst BBC is said to merge reporting and analysis. CNN is of the view that journalism relies at least as much on the depth of knowledge as on actuality and gives its viewers the opportunity to assimilate the information and let the viewers decide on their own based on what they see and hear whereas BBC stands that their networks’ strong point is on its analysis. In effect, CNN gives its viewers a straightforward narration of what real and actual while BBC is a combination of facts and analysis.

On a different aspect, internet surfers finds CNN’s website friendly in as much as it uses a news paper lay out while that of BBC’s web site just present the list of its headlines which leads to the news articles. Notably, BBC does not keep its stories on its websites more than a day since each time a new happening or event is reported, another news is removed from its main site. (Hall, 2006)

In sum, both must be recognized as significant tool in bringing important news and event to the world. In whatever manner, these help the people to be informed and updated of the global events. There are many other way to both contrast and compare the television networks, however, in the end, what is important is the truthfulness and accuracy of the news which is relayed.


David Brown, The Importance of BBC World, March 1, 2000, http://www.multichannel.com. Retrieved June 22, 2006

Ball, Ryan, The United States in the News, www.uiowa.edu, Retrieved  June 22, 2006


Cite this Cable News Network (CNN) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Cable News Network (CNN) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). (2016, Sep 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/cnn-or-bbc-essay/

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