Bidders pitch for French global news channel

MUMBAI : This is an initiative that aims at putting a European spin on news and currents affairs happenings. French media companies have submitted bids for the creation of an international television news channel. For a year now the country's President Jacques Chirac has been keen on providing people with a French-flavoured alternative to the two global news giants CNN, BBC World .



The Iraq war saw BBC and CNN gain huge ground in terms of viewership across the globe. France along with Germany strongly opposed the war and so the proposed channel would offer a counter perspective.

A Reuters report states that the main French state-owned TV and radio groups made a case that their existing networks abroad would allow them to target 36 million homes in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, using English and Arabic as well as French at an early stage. The plan is to have the channel up and running by next year.

French broadcaster LCI wants a 50:50 venture with the state sector groups in the running, France Television and Radio France Internationale (RFI). It also maintained that the state would have to foot the bill.

LCI News channel was set up a decade ago but its audience is limited to the French. LCI's plan is to provide subtitles in English or Arabic for global audiences, Around 30 to 40 per cent of the programme content would differ from the news and debates aired in France.

Another proposal comes from RFI. It plans to set up the international news channel with France Television at a cost of around 35 million euros ($38 million) a year. One more party said to be in the fray Canal Plus has stated that its experience in the delivery of digital TV would come in handy but stayed silent on the issue of the kind of content that it would offer.

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