Cable TV

Al Jazeera to partner with Indian players for distribution

NEW DELHI: Al Jazeera, which is launching an English language international news channel around May this year, has earmarked India as an important market.

According to Al Jazeera Internationals commercial director Lindsey Oliver, the channel plans to partner with some local companies for distribution purpose.
India is an incredibly important market for us, but first we are looking at being present on all important carriers (cable networks) to create an awareness, Oliver, who was recently in Delhi, told in an exclusive chat.

And, it was evident from the hectic meetings that the channels senior executives from headquarters Doha and local ones had with a cross section of the broadcast and cable industry.
However, she added that Al Jazeera International is not focusing on any one particular market or few geographical areas. Instead, its looking at a wider global canvas.

We are looking at building awareness and distribution all across the globe instead of getting big market share in certain markets, Oliver explained.

To be beamed off Pas10, Al Jazeera International has already set up shop in India with a bureau headed by Anmol Saxena, who has been in the business of television for some years now.

Saxenas company has arranged for pubcaster Doordarshan coverage of the Iraq invasion by the US and produced documentaries like one Mohd Ali Jinnah for Zee News, amongst other works done for various networks.

Oliver feels that after six months of launch, Al Jazeera International would look at expanding its activities in India by possibly going in for local distribution tie-ups.

Though Al Jazeera shot into fame via its Arabic channel during the Iraq invasion by the US that reveled in giving a platform to terrorist outfit Al Qaida, Oliver feels that the international English channel would not go out of its way to court controversy.

Like any other international news channel, ours also would have news from all round the globe. But just as CNN is an international channel with an American perspective and BBC is one with a British outlook, well be a global news channel with a Middle Eastern perspective, Oliver spelt out the channels positioning.

Interestingly, Al Jazeeras Arabic feed telecasts exclusively on certain time bands on the Rajat Sharma-controlled India TV news channel.

Al Jazeera International would be the worlds first English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East and the channels broadcasting centres will be located in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC.

An InterBrands 2004 global survey ranked Al Jazeera as the worlds most influential brand among all media networks and as the worlds fifth most influential brand behind Apple, Google, IKEA and Starbucks.

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