CNN sees integration of services as way to maintain position as global news leader

Three weeks into his new role at the helm of CNN's operations in the south Asian region, Ian Macintosh, senior vice-president, CNN International, was at pains to point out how far down the road the organisation had come in its attempts to become a television news service with truly global perspective.

To maintain its position as the world's preeminent news breaking channel, CNN is integrating its traditional news gathering activities with cutting edge interactive technologies on all platforms in the Asia Pacific, Macintosh said.

The regional newsgathering and production centre in Hong Kong provides network programming and on-line production for CNN's 34 television, radio and new media services worldwide, Macintosh said.

Macintosh stressed that being multi-skilled is central to the digital age. And CNN is using that strategy to position itself strongly in the market.

Macintosh is in India to get an overview of the channel from various quarters. He dwelt at length with media persons at an informal interaction in Mumbai today on the effort at CNN to become truly global in its perspective.

He admitted that his organisation still had a way to go to get rid of the perception that it saw the world through American eyes. "It's not just a quantitative shift in that CNN International has 50 non-Americans in key positions, but a qualitative one which is reflected in how we cover events," Macintosh said.

As a case in point, he mentioned some of the reports on Afghanistan that the CNN team had carried out which went much beyond the coverage of the Taliban and its excesses.

Talking specifically on the South Asia channel which was launched last year, Macintosh said the aim was to develop it into one sensitive to the needs of the subcontinent. To achieve that goal, one must understand the market in the region, and his visit was an effort in that direction, he added.

On the question of penetration of the channel in India, Anshuman Misra, who oversees the distribution and marketing of CNN International, said after the channel was encrypted it reached five and a half million homes, mainly in urban centres. Mumbai was where CNN has its highest viewership, Mishra said.

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