The national broadcaster’s brand new news channel is followed by only 2.9% of the television viewing audience, according to the latest broadcasting authority report published earlier this week.

TVM News+ is followed by 4,000 people on average, as opposed to TVM’s 100,000+ audiences during peak hours.

On nearly all days, TVM News+ audiences only peak at 8pm, when the channel runs the same news bulletin that is broadcast on TVM.

The broadcasting authority report notes that, even then, most viewers prefer to watch the news on TVM.

The survey shows that the new channel is followed more than Xejk (2%), but less than FLiving (3.3%).

During most of the day the channel registers a viewership rating of around 0.5 per cent.

TVM News+ replaced TVM2 as from last October after a massive rebranding effort by the national broadcaster.

When the new channel was announced in August, PBS said that the high audiences it registered during the 8pm news bulletin revealed the potential of news programming and inspired PBS to dedicate an entirely new channel to news, current affairs, sports, culture and history.

Since then, most current affairs programming was migrated from TVM to TVM News+ and the new channel has been broadcasting mostly discussion programmes and documentary-style shows.

In 2020, the government doubled PBS’s taxpayer funding to €6 million a year, with Broadcasting Minister Carmelo Abela saying that a strong national broadcaster is essential for democracy.

In August, PBS had also said that TVM would focus more on programming that was fun for all the family but critics have dubbed this as a move to kill journalism programmes and political discussions.

Meanwhile, despite registering a decrease in its audiences, TVMs news bulletin remained the most watched television programme and TVM retained its place as the most watched and favourite television station.

After TVM, people prefer foreign TV stations, followed by ONE and then NET.

The survey found that nine in 10 Maltese residents watch television and half of the residents listen to the radio.

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