Wednesday 6 January 2021 3:28 pm

GB News promises ‘boldly different’ TV channel as it secures £60m funding

An upcoming TV channel promising to shake up the rolling news market will start recruiting 120 journalists after sealing the final tranche of its £60m investment.

GB News, which is spearheaded by Andrew Neil, today said it had secured backing from Dubai-based investment firm Legatum and hedge fund manager Sir Paul Marshall.

Read more: Murdoch’s TV plans mature as News UK searches for more big names

The funding round, which bosses say was oversubscribed by 50 per cent, takes the venture to its reported £60m target, having already secured £20m from US media giant Discovery.

GB News, which promises a “boldly different 24-hour television and digital news service”, is expected to shun impartiality in favour of a US-style opinionated approach to programming.

With the funding in place, it will begin hiring for 140 roles, including 120 journalists. It is aiming to launch this year.

Chairman Neil, who will also host a prime-time programme on GB News, said he was “thrilled to have such a broad range of high-calibre investors who share our belief that many British people are crying out for a news service that is more diverse and more representative of their values and concerns.”

Read more: Screenshot: Is this the end for impartial TV news?

“GB News is a massive undertaking in a fiercely competitive market but we’re confident there’s an appetite for a fresh approach to news in Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”

GB News, which will be funded by advertising, expects to reach 96 per cent of the British TV audience through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, Youview and Freesat.

It will also launch a range of streaming, video on-demand and audio services.

Chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos said GB News was an opportunity to add “vitally needed plurality” to the UK media sector. “This is a significant investment in British journalism at a time when it’s needed most,” he said.

The launch comes as Rupert Murdoch gears up to regain a footing in the British TV market.

Read more: Andrew Neil’s GB News will test whether there is appetite for a Fox News-style news channel in the UK

News UK TV was last month given regulatory approval by Ofcom and is also aiming to start broadcasting this year.

Few details have been released about the new venture, but Lord Alan Sugar and Piers Morgan are reportedly among the big names that have been approached about hosting shows.

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