CNN boosts global regionalization drive

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HONG KONG--CNN International, which in 1997 regionalized its content, is expanding that strategy by commissioning more than 20 hours a week of new programming from CNNI's Hong Kong, London, Berlin and Atlanta studios. CNNI is recruiting 70 new staff members in Asia and Europe by mid-1999 to increase local content. The global news network will also relaunch its weather service with new international presenters and more timely, region-specific weather forecasts.

With the 20 additional hours of new programs being launched on the Asia Pacific and Europe feeds, CNNI will have 70 hours per week of regionalized programming on air by June 1999.

This huge investment in resources will step up CNNI President Chris Cramer's three-year regionalization initiative, which the company says has helped it achieve a 35% increase in Asia Pacific advertising revenues, while regional distribution has grown from 20 million to nearly 26 million households. Worldwide, the network's distribution has increased from 113 million to over 149 million households since September 1997.

Mr. Cramer says the expansion is the single largest investment in the network since it was launched in 1985 as a sister network to CNN/USA. CNNI now operates separate production facilities in Atlanta, Hong Kong and London, and has its own team of nearly 20 multi-cultural anchors. CNNI produces 90% of its own programming, with the remaining programs being adopted from CNN/USA.

Programmed specifically to provide international news with a regional perspective, CNNI transmits four separate feeds that broadcast to the Asia Pacific, Europe/Middle East/Africa, Latin America and the U.S.

Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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