de Pouzilhac Leads Launch of French Global TV Channel

07 December 2006

PARIS: In an attempt to convince the planet that globalization should not necessarily equate to Americanization, the French establishment will today launch France 24 online prior to its TV debut on Friday. A global round-the-clock news channel, it will peddle the Gallic take on matters mondial.

France 24 is broadcast to ninety countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, plus New York City and Washington, from whence it will roll-out across the USA. It aims to offer an alternative to what France regards as the dominance of the US-UK view on global events.

According to a France 24 press kit, the new channel is about "seeing the world through a filter other than that of CNN, BBC World and al-Jazeera.". Or as French president Jacques Chirac puts it: "An omnipresence of Anglo-Saxon culture."

The new channel is led by ceo Alain de Pouzilhac, former chief executive of global advertising network Havas before his ousting last year by corporate raider Vincent Bolloré [WARC News: 23-Jun-05]. France 24 is jointly financed by the state-owned national TV service France Televisions and commercial broadcaster TF1.

With an annual budget of €90 million ($119.9m; £60.74m), France 24 is underfunded in comparison with CNN at around $550m - albeit better off than BBC 24 with a meagre £50m.

Says Waddick Doyle, an associate professor of communications at the American University of Paris and an author of essays on French television: "It's Chirac's personal project and completely a Gaullist idea."

There are thought to be around 175 million French speakers in the world; but the channel will also broadcast in English and Arabic.

France 24 goes live online December 7 at 8:30pm (GMT+1) Meantime, a preview can be accessed by clicking here.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff