Live to South Asia
India is probably the most competitive television news market in the world. There are at least 20 news channels, about half broadcasting in English and half in Hindi. There are channels specialising in business, channels specialising in headlines, and channels which go for entertainment stories.
We've been broadcasting in India longer than nearly all of them and at one stage we used to produce output specifically targeted at the sub-continent. Question Time India; HardTalk India; Wheels (a motoring programme), even a version of University Challenge featuring Indian students.
But in such a competitive market, you need to be clear about what you stand for, what your strengths are. We know that ours is international news made relevant to South Asian audiences. Which is why on Monday (at 9.30pm IST/10pm PST), we're launching a new edition of our flagship programme, World News Today, specifically targeted at viewers in India and Pakistan and other countries in south Asia where we know we have a loyal following.
The programme will be presented by Nik Gowing, who is very well-known to BBC World viewers and who has been reporting from Asia throughout his years on the channel. He makes it his business to have first-hand knowledge of the stories he's reporting from, and hops on to aeroplanes the way most of us hop on to a bus or a train. So he's just back from his latest trip to India to promote the new programme and he'll be there again in a few weeks to report on the 60th anniversary celebrations.
His new programme will report the world to South Asia and south Asia to the world - how does the extraordinary economic success of India impact upon western nations? How does America's support for President Musharraf impact upon his popularity in Pakistan? What do British Indians feel about the performance of the India cricket team during the tour of England? These are the sorts of areas which come under our remit, and we're confident we can provide audiences in South Asia with a depth and breadth of coverage that no other broadcaster can match.
We'd love to know whether you agree, and what suggestions you have for the kind of coverage we should be offering viewers in the region. It's an exciting few days for us...