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Shanghai Media Group plans English-language news channel in China

19 September, 2007:

Shanghai Media Group, Chinaís second-largest media group in terms of revenue, plans to launch a 24-hour English-language television news channel in China in 2007 even as it seeks to expand to reach a global audience.

Shanghai Media has been in talks with regulators in charge of the media and culture sectors for at least one year now, and is likely to win approval for launching the new channel by the end of 2007, according to government and industry sources.

Shanghai Media Groupís plan has already won strong support from the Shanghai city government, which owns the firm, and is now subject to approval from top regulators in Beijing.

If the plan materializes, the proposed TV news channel would become Chinaís second, 24-hour TV channel to be broadcast nationwide and completely in English.

China Central Television, Shanghai Media Groupís bigger rival and controlled by the central government, now operates an international channel in English which targets a foreign audience.

Shanghai Media Group also plans to broadcast the proposed English-language news channel to several foreign countries in Asia, Europe, and North America through satellite transmission or cooperation with local broadcasters.

The proposed English-language news channel is also expected to bring in advertising revenue from global brands that want to reach an English-speaking audience, the sources said.

Shanghai Media Group currently operates about 20 television and radio channels, including 24-hour Chinese-language news and entertainment broadcaster Dragon TV, which can be accessed by audiences outside China through satellite services.

Though it has yet to receive final regulatory approval, Shanghai Media Group has already begun hiring English-speaking presenters, editors, and reporters, including foreigners, for the new service, according to the sources.

Shanghai Media Groupís existing broadcast channels already have content partnerships with foreign firms such as CNBC (owned by General Electric Company), and the Discovery Channel (part-owned by Discovery Holding Company). It is holding talks with other foreign financial and entertainment
media firms for cooperation with its planned English-language channel.

News Corp, Time Warner Incorporated, and Viacom Incorporated have launched English-language television channels in China over the last few years, but each has been limited to mass-broadcasting rights in south Chinaís affluent Guangdong province, bordering Hong Kong.

The Walt Disney Company had applied for its own limited broadcasting rights about four years ago, but it has yet to receive permission for a Chinese version of the Disney channel.




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