Altice’s international news channel i24 News, started by the cable and telecom giant’s controlling shareholder Patrick Drahi in 2013 to provide a source of information from “the heart of the Middle East,” will launch in the United States next month.
Programming on i24 is focused on global live news and debate shows, produced in studios in France, Israel and, soon, the U.S. It will start airing on Feb. 13, with Bethpage-based Altice USA, the company’s U.S. arm, as its first distribution partner. Locally it will be on Optimum TV Channel 102.
The news channel airs the same news in three languages -- English, French and Arabic. The U.S. launch will come with a team of 50 in New York and Washington, D.C., which will feed the U.S. channel and also deliver news and content from the new U.S. studios around the world.
“Media and content are really core to the strategy of Altice,” said Dexter Goei, chairman and CEO of Altice USA and president of Altice. Drahi’s personal experience watching what he considered biased news accounts of events in Israel led him to launch the news network, Goei said. Drahi had “a personal desire to provide unbiased news from a different viewpoint than typically reported by many of the Western outlets, many not on the ground,” he said.
The head office of i24 News is at the Jaffa Port in Tel Aviv, “which is already a symbol, because it is a Jewish and Arabic city,” said Frank Melloul, CEO of i24 News. “We have a big hangar with a unique newsroom with around 250 people working here with Jewish, Muslim and Christian people, and you can even find some agnostics. They produce the content together.
“And every night you will have news documentaries about society, security, education, women and how things are working in the Middle East,” Melloul said. “After each news documentary you will have a debate with protagonists explaining the points of view about what you just saw.”
Altice USA owns 25 percent of Newsday Media Group.
With Newsday staff