Washington, D.C. – A network is defined by how it handles the big story. CNN became a real worldwide force when anchor Bernard Shaw along with reporters, Peter Arnett and John Holliman described the bombing of Baghdad, Iraq, as the start of the Gulf War played out in real time in our living rooms back in 1991.
i24 News became a true power that must be considered a growing superstar in the cable news industry with their coverage of Operation Protective Edge – Conflict in Gaza. The network made great use of live streaming their shows online and through their apps while engaging viewers via social media through the i24 News Facebook page and Twitter feed to advance and enhance their brand. It also helped the new viewers to get to better know the people they were watching on the network.
i24 News broadcasts in English, French and Arabic, working out of their modern state of the art broadcast center located in the ancient port area of Jaffa in Tel Aviv. It is a 24 hour, 7 day a week, 365 day a year legitimate all news operation.
In covering the Gaza conflict i24 News used their “home field advantage” to get access to all of the key players in the region. The i24 News ” ground troops,” were in Gaza, throughout Israel and they interacted with the anchors in the studio to tell as many different stories as possible during their live extensive coverage of Operation Protective Edge.
The network not many people in the United States knew existed— suddenly was covering the Gaza conflict better than all of the more established networks.
i24 News out worked and out reported their competitors at CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, the BBC, France 24 and Al Jazeera. The “new kids, “on the block, i24 News became a real player in cable news on a world stage with their extensive and in-depth coverage of the conflict.
Launched in July of 2013 the driving force behind i24 News is billionaire Patrick Drahi, who owns Altice , a multinational company specializing in telecommunications and cable networks. He has cable and satellite services throughout Europe, the Middle East (Including Israel) and South America
When Drahi started i24 News he was wise to hire former French political insider and media executive Frank Melloul, as the CEO and president of the network. It was Melloul who oversaw the development of the very successful European all news network France 24. Under the guidance of Melloul the Multilanguage network become one of the worlds most respected all news outlets.
He took that experience from France 24 and put it to great use at i24 News. The network is high tech, with clean, crisp, easy to read graphics, bright ultra modern sets and of course an outstanding group of anchors, reporters and technicians from all over the world.
Melloul was kind enough to take time out Sunday morning July 27th in his office at the i24 News headquarters to speak with News Talk Florida. He went into detail about what the network is doing now and where they are headed in the future.
NTF: You have done such a wonderful job of covering Operation Protective Edge. Please give me a little behind the scenes idea of how your coverage comes together?
Melloul: “We disrupt all our programs and we are in a Breaking News mode 24/7 since the operation started. Our special editions started earlier actually, with the kidnapping of the three teenagers. What is important for us is to show what is happening on the ground, that’s why our teams are deployed in the southern, central and northern part of Israel…that’s what makes the difference with our competitor.”
NTF: Like CNN in Baghdad for the first Gulf War back in 1991 it is the big events that bring out the best in young networks. Are you aware that your coverage of Operation Protective Edge has put you on the map with viewers in the United States?
Melloul: “Yes…but not only in the United States, and not only Jews. We have extraordinary ratings in Europe where we succeeded in overtaking Russia Today, France24 and Al Jazeera English, in the biggest countries. We can start seeing the same patterns in Africa, and a growing and stronger impact in the Arab world.”
NTF: What are you most proud of in the short year that i24 News has been on the air?
Melloul: “What I am the proudest of is that i24news is already recognized as a challenger to the international news channels, as the alternative to Al Jazeera in the Middle East, but foremost that we have managed to have in the same newsroom Jews, Muslims, Druze and Christians working together, producing the same content in order to provide the Israeli society’s point of view, in all its diversity.”
NTF: What has been your biggest challenge?
Melloul:” To cover a war after less than a year on the air is not an easy thing…The biggest challenge was to show the highest level of professionalism in such a situation, and I’m really proud of my team. We have no reason to envy the biggest TV news channels.”
NTF: Why is it important for i24 News to broadcast in three different languages?
Melloul: “It’s good to have a message…nevertheless it must be understood. Multilingual broadcast is essential to the i24news strategy. We want to target all those who consume international news channels and that is why we must to speak the language of all the people we target.”
NTF: France 24 has been one of my favorite news for nearly six years. What did you learn there that you have used in creating i24 News? Also, do you have a news coverage philosophy or style that is in place at i24 News?
Melloul: “As former VP Strategy Executive of France 24, I set all the international development strategy of that channel. I learned precisely the market of international news channels but also that synergy is the key to success: This is my philosophy at i24news.”
NTF: Tell me a bit about the anchors, reporters, and tech staff that make up the team you put together at i24 News.
Melloul: “i24news has a staff of 250, including 150 journalists of 35 nationalities. Professional young journalists from all over the world came to share their experience, and I have also chosen to give the evening prime time to Lucy Aharish. She is a great professional and because of her origins she has a finely honed knowledge of reality in the region. This is crucial in the message we want to spread. Lucy Aharish is an Israeli Arab news presenter, reporter, and television host on Israel’s Channel 2 and 10. She currently presents the Evening Edition at i24news. Aharish is notable for being the first Hebrew-speaking Arab news presenter on Israeli television.”
While i24 News can be seen in over 800 million homes throughout Europe, the Middle East, the West Indies as well as Africa. We here in the United States are not yet seeing the entire network on cable or satellite. However, that does not mean you can’t access the network.
For now i24 News can be seen locally through their arraignment with Jewish Life Television which can be seen throughout Florida on BrightHouse, Dish and DirecTV. JLTV has committed to airing a morning news block from 10 am till noon weekdays and they also carry a prime-time newscast Sunday through Thursday nights 7 pm to 9 pm
However, I recommend that if you want to watch i24 News via the live streaming option from their website (click here) or you can watch them on your iPad or android tablet or smartphone by using the their live TV app. The app is free and can be downloaded at either the iTunes Store or at the Google Play Store. You can also find i24 on Livestation.
If you are a real teckie like me, I would suggest that you buy a “ROKU box or stick” (they can be purchased for around $50 dollars online or at Best Buy) for your television. It takes about five minutes to set up and works via broadband internet connection. Once you have ROKU connected then you go to the Nowhere TV website where under the International News area you can add i24 News along with over 20 all news channels including, Al Jazeera, BBC World, CNN International, France 24 and many others. The networks can be seen for free in high definition on your home television.