... congressman, senator, vice-president, narrowly defeated presidential candidate in 2000 (although the counted votes say otherwise) ... Ladies and Gentlemen, get those hands together for Al Gore … the US of A's newest media tycoon!

In the wake of ongoing rumors over the past six months [WAMN: 01-Oct-03], the former vice-president yesterday announced the purchase of News World International from French media and telecoms titan Vivendi Universal.

The ex-veep may be all for open government, but he's not revealing how many dollars he and his backers stumped-up for the sparsely-viewed cable station, nor the vital statistics of the new venture's balance sheet.

Gore also denies the channel is set to become a rallying point to combat the neo-rightist leanings of much mainstream US television -- not least Rupert Murdoch's personal political megaphone, the Fox News Channel.

NWI will be relaunched, switching its focus to young Americans. This, claims Gore and his business partner Joel Hyatt, will provide a politically independent voice for youth.

According to Hyatt, although NWI will offer extensive coverage of current events and affairs, it has no plans to ape the usual 24-hour news format. The channel could be in for an uphill struggle: it is available via cable and satellite to only seventeen million of America's 100.8m homes.

With such limitations on audience potential, NWI will need deep pockets to develop program content of sufficient quality to build viewing figures to a commercially viable level.

Or could it be that its funds will be supplemented from the Democratic Party's electoral warchest?

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff