Altice's Drahi hints at original programming plans, will bring i24 News to U.S. market

Fresh off the closure of his blockbuster $17.7 billion acquisition of Cablevision, Altice's Patrick Drahi said he will bring the company's Israeli news channel, i24 News, to the U.S. market within the next year.

Drahi also said Altice will invest in original programming that also could make its way to the U.S. market, where Altice now counts 4.6 million customers across 20 states through its rollup of Suddenlink and, most recently, Cablevision.

"The French version (of i24 News) is mainly focused on the Middle East and France. The U.K. version is about the Middle East. The American version will be about the Middle East and the United States," Drahi told the AFP, according to a report in Variety. "I want the New Yorkers to hear the opinion of the French and all that will enable people to engage in discussions, have a different vision than the one perpetuated by others (alluding to Al Jazeera America) who have indeed not succeeded." 

Al Jazeera America closed its U.S. operations earlier this year.

The American version of i24 News will sport both U.S. and French journalists, according to multiple reports of Drahi's comments in New York this week following the closure of Altice's acquisition of Cablevision.

Drahi also said Altice would bring some of its other French channels to the U.S. market including news service BFM TV.

As for original programming, Drahi said that Altice will invest in original content primarily targeted at its French market. Variety noted that Altice in February appointed Nora Melhli, a French content executive with experience at Shine France and Endemol Fiction, to create content for its platforms, including its Zive SVOD offering that Altice plans to launch in the United States.

For more:
- see this Variety article
- see this Digital TV Europe article

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