Al Jazeera launches English channel in India,Hindi in pipeline

Al Jazeera launches English channel in India,Hindi in pipeline

The network is also considering launching a Hindi news channel in the country.

"Al Jazeera English has just completed five years internationally and to announce its national launch in India is a significant step forward given the potential of the market here," Al Jazeera English Managing Director Al Anstey told reporters here.

The launch on Dish TV will enable Al Jazeera English to reach out to 11.7 million households across India as a free-to-air channel, he added. "We are also in conversation with other DTH players such as Tata Sky, airtel digital TV and Videocon and will soon be rolling out the channel on other platforms, including cable," Anstey said.

When asked about the channel's revenue model in India, he said: "The focus at the moment is to build the brand here before we look at revenue opportunities, including advertising."

Given the large number of Hindi speaking audience in the country, the network is also mulling a local language channel for India. "We are certainly considering a Hindi channel. It is being discussed but cannot provide details on the timeline as this is something that we are still evaluating," he said.

He said the network has already launched a 24-hour Al-Jazeera Balkan channel for the erstwhile Yugoslavia region and plans to launch a Turkish language channel next year. "We will also consider bringing other sports and documentary channels from our network to India," he said without giving details.

Besides enhancing distribution, the network is also strengthening news gathering capabilities in the country. Al Jazeera had set up a news office in India five years back and currently has a team of around eight journalists and 60 stringers across the country to gather content and news for its international feed.

The channel will continue to broadcast the international feed and also showcase India specific news stories of global relevance and interest. Launched in 2006, Al Jazeera English has over 70 bureaus across the world and reaches out to 250 million households in 130 countries.