CNN mulls full fledged Middle East operations from UAE

Regional headquarters will put news broadcaster in direct competition with Al-Jazeera's English language service.
By Vijaya Cherian
Sun 18 Nov 2007 12:35 PM

As part of its efforts to more aggressively compete with upstart 24-news channels and rely less on third party information sources, CNN is planning a multimillion- dollar investment in its international news-gathering resources.

The expansion, estimated to cost US $10m, will see CNN International open permanent bases in nine new countries from Afghanistan to Vietnam and add correspondents in existing bureaux, including Beijing and London.

It also plans to open its regional headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, putting it in direct competition with Al Jazeera's English-language service, which marks its first anniversary this month, with distribution deals taking it to a potential audience of 100 million homes.

Tony Maddox, managing director of CNN International, said the moves were motivated by the Time Warner-owned broadcaster's desire to control more of its content and was not a response to new rivals. The expansion of its international business partly reflected a growing interest among US viewers in foreign news, he said.

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