The cable channel is set to be an offshoot of Drahi’s i24 News channel, which already has hubs in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is currently setting up headquarters in New York City’s Times Square and Washington D.C., where it will offer live reports daily to American viewers. The company is set to launch February 13 and its first distribution partner is Altice USA, the country’s fourth-largest cabler after it acquired Cablevision Systems and Suddenlink in the last few years.
i24 expects to hire around 50 journalists across the two bureaus, to add to its existing 250 staff and reporters across the company.
The cable operator hinted in December it was “exploring the possibility” of an initial public offering to sell “a minority interest in its U.S. operations.” It has about 4.3 million residential customers in 20 U.S. states, including a heavy concentration on Long Island and around New York City.
“What began as a dream of our founder to create a source of news where debate and multiple perspectives were welcome, has become i24 News – a well-respected, differentiated global news organization with a track record of journalistic excellence around the world,” said Dexter Goei, President of Altice N.V. and chairman and CEO of Altice USA.
“Content is core to Altice’s global strategy and this is an exciting step as we bring i24 to the U.S. and provide refreshing balanced content that will offer a new perspective on domestic and international news that consumers cannot watch anywhere else.”
Melloul added: “In a society where everything has global implications – from politics and healthcare to education and security – i24 News in the U.S. will provide a new voice as it melds different points of view with everyday developments.”
Global headquarters will remain in Tel Aviv, Israel. The news organization has three separate studios there each broadcasting in a different language – English, French and Arabic – a model that allows viewers to access the same news but in their preferred local language.
Early last year, after a rocky few years, Al Jazeera America closed down after failing to gain ground in the U.S. news space.