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CNN mulls vernacular foray

CNN International is keen to set up a local language channel in the country with a joint venture partner. Talking to newspersons on Wednesday, the CNN International president Chris Cramer said that the company is quite impressed with the growth of the media industry in India in the last couple of years. It is also convinced that a local language foray in the country will be widely accepted

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
MUMBAI
CNN International is keen to set up a local language channel in the country with a joint venture partner. Talking to newspersons on Wednesday, the CNN International president Chris Cramer said that the company is quite impressed with the growth of the media industry in India in the last couple of years. It is also convinced that a local language foray in the country will be widely accepted.
He cited examples of the other markets -- like Germany, Spain and Turkey -- in which CNN International has launched vernacular language versions, and successfully so. However he believes that instead of going it alone, the joint venture route will be the most feasible.
CNN is also exploring the possibility of introducing local language programmes, both in India and the Asian market. For the South Asia channel, CNN plans to introduce two weekly programmes produced from India. It will enter into a multi-year contract with the local production house. These locally produced programmes will be introduced on the new South Asia channel by the fourth quarter of 2000.
The channel has appointed two new anchors for its new programmes. It has also initiated discussions with a number of programme providers. The strength of local programming will complement CNN's current offering of news programmes and breaking news, Cramer hoped.
All these initiatives are aimed at wresting the number one position from BBC in the Indian market in the news and information arena. "India is the only country where BBC is ahead of us. We are planning to be aggressive in the Asian region," Cramer reportedly said. He added that CNN would like to focus on business, technology and lifestyle in terms of its porgramme.
CNN will flag off its sub-regionalisation strategy with the launch of the South Asia channel on July 3 with a new region-specific schedule. This will feature a five-hour prime time block, comprising international and regional news bulletins. There will also be a daily edition of the popular Q&A show for South Asia, presented by Riz Khan at 10 pm. CNN International will also reschedule some of the network's most popular programmes for daily prime-time television viewing in South Asia. These programmes include BizAsia, CNNdotCOM, Style with Elsa Klensch and CNN Hotspots.
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