Television

Al Gore's INdTV acquires Newsworld International

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MUMBAI: He may not be running against Bush at the upcoming US presidential elections but former US vice president Al Gore has found a way to increase his media visibility.

Gore announced that his recently formed media company INdTV Holdings has acquired Newsworld International (NWI) from Vivendi Universal Entertainment. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

At the moment, NWI is a 24-hour global news channel ala BBC and CNN. With the acquisition, NWI will be developed into a channel that will target the ad-friendly 18-34 age group through diverse programmes. Notwithstanding the shift in focus, NWI's programming will continue to be provided by The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Gore has gone on record clarifying that the channel will not be overtly political in nature.

With this purchase, Gore can start working on his plan to provide an alternative to the conservative media bias of Fox TV. This was something that Gore had been looking to do since last year following criticism of Fox's coverage of the Iraq invasion by the US.

NWI currently reaches 17 million homes across the US through DirecTV's Total Choice tier, Time Warner Cable's widely distributed digital tier, as well as Comcast systems in key markets and other cable operators.

Gore will serve as chairman of the network's board. He was quoted in a company release saying, "We are launching an exciting television network for young men and women

who want to know more about their world and who enjoy real-life stories created with, by and for their own generation.

"We want to empower this dynamic generation with a network dedicated to them that has integrity and a commitment to excellence. This will not be a political network. These stories will be in a voice that young people recognise and from a point of view they identify as their own."

Among those on the company's advisory board guiding the growth of INdTV is Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The company's COO Mark Goldman was formerly with News Corp. He built a satellite venture in Latin America. Goldman was the president and COO of Sky Latin America Partners prior to teaming up with Gore's venture.

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