FRANCE 24’s aim is to create, promote and develop an international television news channel, in French and other foreign languages.
FRANCE 24 is the first French international news channel to broadcast on a 24/7 basis.
FRANCE 24 is characterized by respect for diversity and attention to political and cultural differences and identities. It offers an in-depth analysis of current events, aiming to uncover what lies beneath the surface and reveal what the public is not used to seeing, knowing or understanding. It also gives special attention to culture and lifestyle.
FRANCE 24 is deploying a decisive and bold multilingual strategy. Its programs are broadcast on two channels, one in French, one in English, with Arabic scheduled for 2007. Spanish will follow. Free and unencrypted, the network broadcasts via the various platforms of the digital universe : satellite, cable, ADSL, Internet...
It places Internet at the heart of its strategy with a trilingual site as of its launch.
FRANCE 24 is targeting an audience of opinion leaders. Initially, it is broadcast in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the cities of New York and Washington D.C. Its coverage will ultimately extend worldwide.
FRANCE 24 brings a fresh new look at international developments, with a view to ensuring greater pluralism in a multi-faceted world where information plays a decisive role. To this end, it has been endowed with the necessary resources - both financial and human - to guarantee its editorial independence and enable it to offer new and original reporting.
A challenger to CNN International, BBC World and Al Jazeera, France 24 aims to present world news from a French perspective and with a French sensibility.
The idea of a French international news channel goes back to the early 1990s, or more precisely, to the first Gulf War, when CNN’s cameras aboard American tanks were, so to speak, the only ones to relay events. The disagreements between the United States and France over the second Gulf War subsequently heightened the need to present the French view of international affairs.
It was only after long deliberation that the proposal for a French international news channel, broadcasting 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, both unscrambled and digital, was finalised at the end of 2005, with the creation of a private company financed by state subsidies. It was agreed that the Bouygues group channel, TF1, and the grouping of state channels, France Télévisions, would be the shareholders in France 24 and would support the international channel with both equipment and human resources (distribution network, network of correspondents around the world, etc.). At the beginning of 2006, Alain de Pouzilhac, former chairman and managing director of the Havas advertising group was appointed chairman of the board of France 24.
Supported by an annual budget of 80 million euros, France 24 will start broadcasting from its studios in Issy-les-Moulineaux, in the Paris region, on 1 December 2006. The buildings, which will house a team of 170 bilingual journalists (French-English or French-Arabic) and 50 technicians, were designed specially for the new station.
In addition to a news bulletin every half-hour, France 24’s programming schedule will be made up of economic and sports reports, weather, debates on social issues, features about the French life style, a magazine with in-depth stories, profiles of public figures and a daily cultural round-up. France 24 will generally react to events and envisages special broadcasts initiated by its editors and up-to-the-minute news footage whenever there is breaking news.
The real innovation is not in the programme scheduling, however, but in the method of transmission. In fact, France 24 is not simply a news channel, but combines five media outlets: three fully interactive websites (French, English and Arabic) that complement the television channels, and two live stations (one completely in French, the other 75% English and 25% French) which will operate perfectly simultaneously in real time.
Operating alongside TV5, the French-language channel, Radio France Internationale and other externally oriented audio-visual channels such as the Franco-German channel Arte or Euronews (the European news channel), France 24 will focus on providing a complementary service. “Without being the voice of France”, insists Alain de Pouzilhac, “it will present the French point of view and approach international news with the objectivity and independence that are the foundations of journalism, but, added to that, specifically French values”. There are also plans for partnerships with the AFP and Reuters agencies and the France Ô channel (for French overseas territories).
France 24 intends to create an image as much as an audience and is aimed at opinion-makers in Europe (from the Atlantic to the Urals), Africa and the Near and Middle East, that is to say nearly 250 million potential viewers. In the future, coverage will be widened to include Asia and America with switchovers in other languages, starting from the end of 2007 with Arabic and Spanish.