Sky and NBC team up for new global news channel under owner Comcast

Sky and NBC News are teaming up under joint owner Comcast to launch an international news service with a base in the UK, senior executives have revealed.

The English-speaking channel will be called NBC Sky World News and is set to go live this summer, creating a rival to the BBC World Service and CNN in terms of global news coverage.

The move comes almost 18 months after US cable giant Comcast, which has wholly owned NBC Universal since 2013, spent more than £40bn taking over Sky, including its Sky News division.

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Variety reported that the main newsroom for the network will be at Sky’s Osterley campus in west London but that ten new international bureaux will also open in places the company feels news is “under-reported”.

NBC News International president Deborah Turness  told Variety: “We see an opportunity to begin an approach that isn’t filtered through a US perspective or a British perspective or any national perspective.

“We can bring our journalism to the wide world, but also invest heavily in global journalism so we can add to the story and really create an approach and product that can deliver the global perspective we believe the world wants right now.”

She suggested the channel would “cover the great issues impacting all humanity today” and would make use of NBC News’ international teams.

But she acknowledged the channel would “take a beat to get started and to build”.

NBC News chairman Andy Lack told the Financial Times the channel would draw on a combined workforce of 3,500 and eventually hire 100 to 200 dedicated staff.

Lack said NBC has “longed for an international channel” for more than 20 years, lamenting that “if you weren’t in the 24-hour news business globally, you weren’t really in the news business”.

A Sky spokesperson declined to comment as the initiative is being led by NBC, but promised more information as the plans develop.

Picture: Reuters/Mike Blake

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