BBC World debuts in the US market

MUMBAI: In a bid to target a wider audience, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has launched BBC World in the US market. Though the news channel started broadcasting at the end of April, it was officially launched on 1 June. The channel can now be seen in New York. The BBC is also looking at striking deals with cable and satellite providers elsewhere in the US soon. 

The launch coincided with the unveiling of an outdoor advertising campaign in New York to promote the service to viewers.

In July, BBC World will launch a new breakfast programme presented by George Alagiah. "What we're not setting out to do is carve a niche that reflects America back to the Americans. What we're trying to do is reflect the world back to Americans," Alagiah was quoted as saying in BBC News.

The show, which will be based in London, will also be carried on the cable channel BBC America.

BBC World was launched in 1995, and is funded by advertising and subscription. Apart from news bulletins, it also broadcasts the interview programme Hardtalk, motoring show Top Gear and film guide Talking Movies, amongst others.

Although it can be seen in more than 200 countries, the channel has found it difficult to get a foothold in the US. "The American TV market is the most crowded market in the world. For cable operators to find a space for another news network has been quite difficult," said the station's editor Richard Porter.

Porter also said that the channel's coverage of global affairs has been their key selling point.

The launch of BBC World in New York comes just four months after the station signed a distribution deal with Discovery. The channel's main competitor in the US will be CNN International.

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