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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Report: News TV Planned For Fall

A government-controlled, 24-hour news channel could go on air in the fall, the Kommersant daily reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified source high in the management of state media holding VGTRK.

Programming for the channel, molded after CNN and BBC World, will be provided by Rossia television and Euronews, the newspaper said. VGTRK, or the All-Russian State Television and Radio Co., owns a stake in Euronews and holds the rights for its Russian-language programming.

The new channel will be headed by former TVS first deputy general director Grigory Krichevsky, the Kommersant report said.

A VGTRK spokeswoman said Wednesday that the report was premature and that the rollout date for the long-discussed channel could be as much as a year away.

"We have never hidden that there are plans, but to talk in such detail about dates and the people who will be involved is way ahead of schedule," she said.

VGTRK head Oleg Dobrodeyev first aired the idea of creating a 24-hour news channel in the mid-1990s when he worked at NTV, and he has made similar noises while at VGTRK.

Alexei Pankin, the editor of the media magazine Sreda, said that whatever the timeframe and personnel, the channel is only a matter of time in coming.

"Dobrodeyev has long dreamed of this," he said.

Pankin said the inevitability of the channel was secured during the Iraq war, when authorities realized the expedience in having an instrument of "counter propaganda."

Kommersant said the channel would most likely not be directly state-owned but held by a group of state-connected shareholders like the new Sport channel, which replaced TVS television on the channel 6 frequency last month.

Sport's shareholders are state committees and banks and companies affiliated to the government.

Sergei Vasilyev, general director of advertising giant Video International, told the newspaper that a 24-hour news channel in Russian would be far from profitable.

"An information channel is unlikely to be financially effective," he said.

"People don't follow just financial goals but ideological goals, political goals, whatever. ... But from an economic standpoint I don't believe that an information channel can be effective."

Kommersant said the station might be offered on the Kosmos TV and NTV Plus cable television networks and be broadcast on channel 25, which is currently unused.