Cablers add channels for news-hungry auds

World brief

MADRID — Spanish cable operators ONO and Retecal have added Arabic news satcaster Al-Jazeera and pubcaster RTVE’s ’round-the-clock news web TVE Canal 24 Horas, to their basic feeds to satisfy auds’ desire for news as the war in Iraq continues.

The war has also revolutionized terrestrial webs’ news ratings. Telecinco’s 2:30 p.m. newscast, which begins 30 minutes before rivals and is praised for its independence, is closing ratings on TVE 1’s newscast, traditionally the most-watched and most pro-government newsie. On March 28, TVE 1’s newscast scored a 26.9% share against Telecinco’s 24.1%.

Much of the Spanish media has dismissed U.S. British and Iraqi news coverage as propaganda. “There’s more truth in ‘The Pianist’ than a newscast,” Spain’s most-read quality daily El Pais declared, after running an interview with Diyar Al Oman, Al-Jazeera’s Baghdad correspondent.

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