Fox News, owned by one of the largest international media groups in the world - Fox Entertainment Group, headed by Rupert Murdoch, has entered into a strategic tie up with MTV/MBC Channels in a landmark deal.
Fox News which plans to air part of its news programming on MTV beginning next month, has virtually no presence in the region by choice. Senior Vice President for International Distribution at Fox, Janet Alshouse, who was in Sri Lanka this week, meeting with MTV/MBC senior management to conclude formalities, said the two parties had come up with an amicable arrangement.
Speaking to The Sunday Times FT, Alshouse described the move as a unique opportunity to have access to a new audience. "We worked through the details and came up with an arrangement we were both happy with," she added. "I think Sri Lanka is an interesting market and a good market for Fox News."
Alshouse said other international news stations tended to present a one sided picture on issues that affected the US, whereas Fox News provided a balanced coverage. "We are so popular in the United States because we deliver both sides of the issues. I think it is good for other people in the world to see what is going on without a filter that other news organisations put on America."
As part of the agreement, the company's flagship English channel would telecast Fox News live on a co-sharing basis. Starting off with a few hours a day, the Fox News presence on the channel is set to increase within the year. "This partnership is significant to Sri Lanka in that MTV/MBC has succeeded in drawing in a global media giant to set up its presence here," commented Group Director for the Capital Maharaja Organisation, Mano Wickramanayake.
Channel Head, MTV and News 1st MTV, Chevaan Daniel, said Fox News has set the benchmark in news reporting and added that it was a significant development for MTV. "Aligned with a small country like Sri Lanka, it's an honour for us," Daniel said. "Even though it is a small market, we are passionate about our brand and maintaining the integrity of the brand.”