PARIS: Former Havas chairman/ceo Alain de Pouzilhac has been appointed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy to helm a new worldwide 24/7 multingual TV news network, France Monde.

It will incorporate two existing channels targeting international audiences, France 24 (of which de Pouzilhac is ceo) and TV5Monde, plus Radio France Internationale.

The new network's remit is to offer a French perspective on world events.

The move will establish France Monde as a major player in the global TV stakes. Indeed, TV5Monde is already the fourth largest global television network after the BBC, CNN and MTV.

And in December 2006 sibling France 24 became the first French international news channel to broadcast on a 24/7 basis.

According to de Pouzilhac, France Monde will go live in April, although time is not on its side. The new entity has yet to be officially incorporated and reportedly lacks an agreed budget.

Cash, however, is unlikely to be a problem when the prestige of La Belle France is at stake. Moreover, the aggregated budget of its three units amounts to over €330 million ($499.36m; £250.64m).

France 24 is equally owned by two shareholders: TF1 and France Télévisions. The former is the largest French network with an audience reach (in 2005) of 32.3%. The latter comprises five national channels with an aggregated reach of 35%.

The broadcast unions are understandably leery of the whole enterprise, scenting a possible loss of cultural identity, editorial independence (from government intervention) and jobs.

They demand that job security is guaranteed within the new structure and that staff are involved in the integration and informed about each stage of the development.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff