New-look Sky confronts News 24 and Al Jazeera

The battle between rolling news channels looks set to intensify when
Sky News reveals the results of the most radical overhaul in its
16-year history.

The channel’s new look, from 24 October, will
arrive soon after the announcement that the BBC’s new head of
television news, Peter Horrocks, plans to invest in BBC News 24 making
it the centre of the corporation’s news platforms.

Al Jazeera
International, which last week confirmed that Sir David Frost would be
joining its line-up of presenters, is aiming to capture UK audiences
when it launches in spring 2006.

The new Sky News will broadcast
from an updated studio and feature new on-air graphics, but the most
significant shake-up will be to the news format.

This will change
from mainly rolling news to a more structured programme schedule, aimed
at different audiences throughout the day.

The first programme on
air will be Sunrise, at 6am, anchored by Eamonn Holmes and Lorna
Dunkley. As well as signing Holmes, Sky News has appointed James Rubin,
a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, for an evening
international show and BBC presenters Ginny Buckley, Gillian Joseph and
Anna Jones.

Established Sky presenters JeremyThompson, Julie
Etchingham and Kay Burley all have their own programmes while Martin
Stanford has a new Saturday show and Adam Boulton’s flagship political
programme, Sunday with Adam Boulton, has been extended by two hours.

Nick
Pollard, head of Sky News, said: “Sky News is an innovator and we are
making significant changes to the way 24-hour news is covered. The new
studio offers greater flexibility and we have made a significant
investment in stateof- the-art technology.”

Sky has remained
ahead of BBC News 24 and the ITV News Channel in terms of share and
peak viewing figures while News 24 is still ahead in terms of reach.
The ITV News Channel is rumoured to be in an internal battle with lads’
channel Men and Motors as room needs to be made for ITV4 on Freeview.

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