BBC starts World News broadcasts in US
Thu Jun 1, 6:00 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The British Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday said it is bringing its BBC World news channel to the United States in a bid to capture American audiences hungry for international news.
Starting in July, the BBC also plans a morning show to compete with U.S. programs. "World News Today" will feature anchor George Alagiah, broadcasting at 7 a.m. Eastern Time from London, along with breaking news and updates, analysis and interviews.
The program will air globally, but was created with the U.S. audience in mind, the company said.
American cable news and broadcast networks have pulled back in their international news coverage, creating an opportunity for the BBC, said Jeremy Hillman, the new editor of BBC World and the outgoing New York bureau chief.
"We really feel there's actually a huge vacuum for us to fill in terms of global, responsible, impartial reporting," he said. "I don't think we expect to be up there beating Fox and, you know, the main networks, but what we want is a good, sizable loyal audience."
The channel's official debut was Thursday, but it started broadcasting the channel several weeks ago on Cablevision Systems Corp.'s digital cable network in the New York Metropolitan area.
Alagiah said the channel will concentrate on news of global importance, including U.S. affairs, but it is not "American news for an American audience."
"It's about interpreting the world for Americans," he said.
The network aims to get the channel on other U.S. cable and satellite systems, as well as new television services offered by U.S. telecommunications companies, said Carolyn Gibson, vice president of sales for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America.
BBC officials declined to say which other cable networks will provide the service.
A BBC America channel broadcasts news, as well as TV programs from "Blackadder" to "Footballers Wives." Some U.S. residents also can hear BBC World Service programs on the National Public Radio affiliates and watch the news on Public Broadcasting System affiliates.