Walt Disney, Univision mull English news channel

MUMBAI: In an effort to keep pace with changing demographics among US Hispanics and reach a new audience of English speakers, Walt Disney Company is mulling with the idea of teaming up with Univision, the dominant Spanish-language broadcaster in the US, to launch an English-language cable news channel this year.

The new channel could combine the resources of Disney’s ABC News and Univision’s news division to rival established news entities like Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN.

If the idea fructifies, the partnership could create a new name in cable news to compete with Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, the audiences of which have become more defined by their politics than ethnic origin.

The joint venture would allow ABC News and Univision to share newsgathering costs in the way that is practiced by NBC News and MSNBC.

Disney‘s ownership of ESPN Sports Network puts it as the strongest negotiating content company with cable and satellite operators. The Disney association would give the new channel a big advantage as it seeks distribution.

News of the talks between ABC and Univision was first reported by the Wall Street Journal after News Corp announced plans for a general interest free-to-air Spanish-language television network in partnership with RCN Television Group, the Colombian broadcaster.

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