| SHANGHAI, Sept 18
SHANGHAI, Sept 18 Shanghai Media Group, China's
second-largest media group by revenue, plans to launch a 24-hour
English TV news channel in China this year 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 and is likely
to win approval for launching the new channel by the end of the
year, government and industry sources familar with the situation
Shanghai Media's 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, they said.
If successful, it would become China's second 24-hour TV
channel to be broadcast nationwide and completely in English.
China Central Television, Shanghai Media's bigger rival and
controlled by the central government, now operates an
international channel in English which targets a foreign
Shanghai Media also aims to broadcast the planned English
news channel to several foreign countries in Asia, Europe and
North America through satellite transmission or cooperation with
local broadcasters, the sources said.
"Shanghai Media has been lobbying Beijing very hard and now
they feel very hopeful, partly because Shanghai will host the
World Expo soon," said one of the sources, who declined to be
"Shanghai needs an English-language TV channel to serve the
increasing number of expatriates living and working in the city
and you can imagine how many foreigners will travel to Shanghai
during the World Expo in 2010," the source added.
Shanghai Media declined to comment.
The English 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 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.
"Dragon TV targets a well-educated Chinese-speaking audience,
including overseas Chinese who live outside China," said another
of the sources. "The new English channel can cover a larger
audience in the global markets."
Although it has yet to receive final regulatory approval,
Shanghai Media has already begun hiring English-speaking
presenters, editors and reporters, including foreigners, for the
new service, the sources said.
Shanghai Media, whose existing broadcast channels already
have content partnerships with foreign firms such as CNBC, owned
by General Electric Co (GE.N), and the Discovery Channel,
part-owned by Discovery Holding Co. (DISCA.OQ), is in talks with
other foreign financial and entertainment media firms for
cooperation with its new English channel.
However, equity deals with foreign firms are unlikely, due to
Beijing's tight control of the domestic media sector.
News Corp NWSa.N, Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) and Viacom Inc
VIAb.N have English-language TV channels in China launched over
the last few years, but each has been limited to
mass-broadcasting rights in south China's affluent Guangdong
province, bordering Hong Kong.
The Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) applied for its own limited
broadcasting rights about four years ago but has yet to receive
permission for a Chinese version of the Disney channel.