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Channel NewsAsia

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Channel NewsAsia (abbreviated CNA) is a 24-hour television news channel and news agency based in Singapore, broadcasting free-to-air domestically and by cable television and satellite television [2] to 28 territories in Asia, the Middle East and Australia. [3]

Channel NewsAsia
Channel NewsAsia logo (shape only).svg
CNA logo without "Channel NewsAsia" labelling
Network Mediacorp
Owned by Mediacorp
Picture format 576i (SDTV) 16:9
1080i (HDTV) 16:9
Slogan Understand Asia
Country Singapore
Language English
Broadcast area Around Asia
Headquarters Mediacorp Campus, Singapore
Replaced Mediacorp
Mediacorp — Analogue (Singapore) Channel 32 (UHF 559.25 MHz)
Mediacorp — Digital (DVB-T) Channel 38 (UHF 610 MHz) Ceased starting 1 March 2017.[1]
Mediacorp — Digital (DVB-T2) Channel 33 (UHF 570 MHz) (LCN 06) (HD)
AsiaSat 7 3706 MHz
Indovision (Indonesia) Channel 330
Tata Sky (India) Channel 535
Cignal (Philippines) Channel 134
StarHub TV (Singapore) Channel 106 (HD)
Mediacorp (Analog, via SCTV socket) (Singapore) Channel 30 (UHF 543.25 MHz)
Mediacorp (DVB-C, via SCTV socket) (Singapore) (UHF 642.00MHz) (SD)
(UHF 514.00MHz) (HD)
SkyCable (Philippines) Channel 109 (Digital)
Destiny Cable (Philippines) Channel 24 (Analog)
Channel 109 (Digital)
Pioneer Cable Vision Inc. (PCVI)
(Baybay City, Leyte, Philippines)
Channel 36 (SD)
Cablelink (Philippines) Channel 21
TransACT (Australia) Channel 25
First Media (Indonesia) Channel 232
Cable TV (Hong Kong) Channel 76
AVG (Vietnam) Channel 17
Singtel TV (Singapore) Channel 6 (HD)
HyppTV (Malaysia) Channel 411
now TV (Hong Kong) Channel 322
FetchTV (Australia) Channel 186
Streaming media
Live Streaming (International)
Live Streaming (Singapore)

Launched in 1999, Channel NewsAsia has the widest reach in the Asia-Pacific of television news channels indigenous to Asia, according to the most recent Ipsos Affluent Survey Asia Pacific (October 2017) of high-net-worth-individuals. Among international news channels, Channel NewsAsia was ranked fifth (with CNN and BBC World News first and second, respectively). [4]

The English language network has been positioned since its launch as an alternative to Western-based international media in its presentation of news from "an Asian perspective". [5] It is run by Mediacorp News Pte Ltd, [6] a subsidiary of the Singapore media conglomerate Mediacorp Pte Ltd. [7]

CNA's other key business is the production of news and current affairs content in four languages, English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese and Tamil. This content is produced for Mediacorp's television and online platforms, such as mass entertainment Channels 5, 8, U, Suria and Vasantham.



Early years

Channel NewsAsia began broadcasting on March 1, 1999, under the Television Corporation of Singapore (renamed MediaCorp TV the following year). [8] The network aired only domestically at the beginning, as Singapore’s first dedicated news and current affairs television channel, although its international ambitions were signalled clearly from day one.

In his speech at the CNA launch event, Singapore’s then Minister for Information & the Arts, BG (NS) George Yeo, said that the network "would hopefully help (the Television Corporation of Singapore) become a significant player in the regional broadcasting industry". [5]

The network began broadcasting regionally 18 months later with the launch of its international broadcasting arm, Channel NewsAsia (International), on September 28, 2000. [9]

In 2002, Channel NewsAsia signed a news content-exchange deal with Metro TV, making its news footage and programmes available to the Indonesia network which broadcast to 30 cities in the country, including Jakarta. [10]

Initial expansion

As Channel NewsAsia turned five, Mediacorp reported that CNA was the most watched television news network in Singapore, ahead of BBC and CNN. The March 5, 2004 newspaper report marking CNA’s fifth anniversary also put CNA’s international reach at “more than 16 million homes and hotel rooms in 18 territories, from the Middle East to South Asia, South-east Asia, North-east Asia and Australia”. [11]

Several carriage deals with were struck in 2004, with the most significant an arrangement between Mediacorp and China International TV Corporation (CITV) for CNA to be made available in hotels and foreign residences in China from 2005. The deal was signed in May and announced in November. [12]

In July, a deal was struck between Mediacorp and the Thailand Cable TV Association for CNA’s carriage in the country. [13] A similar arrangement with Malaysian pay TV operator MiTV was reported the following month. [14]

Entering Myanmar, India

In August 2012, Channel NewsAsia reached an agreement to broadcast in Myanmar through direct-to-home (DTH) pay TV operator Sky Net. [15] CNA opened its Myanmar news bureau in the capital Yangon in October 2013 – the bureau officially opened in January 2014 – as only one of four foreign news organisations licensed to operate in the country at the time. [16]

In mid-2015, Channel NewsAsia’s reach was placed at 58 million households in 26 countries and territories, according to CNA Managing Director Debra Soon in a July 6, 2015, interview with Thai newspaper The Nation. [17]

CNA began broadcasting in India on November 19, 2015, through DTH operator Tata Sky. The move extended the network’s reach to 14 million households in India, Mediacorp and Tata Sky said in a joint press statement. [18]

Channel NewsAsia currently broadcasts to 28 territories in Asia and the Middle East, across 11 time zones.[3] They are:

Time zone Countries
UTC +3:00 Bahrain, Qatar
UTC +4:00 United Arab Emirates
UTC +5:00 Maldives, Pakistan
UTC +5:30 India, Sri Lanka
UTC +5:45 Nepal
UTC +6:00 Bangladesh, Bhutan
UTC +6:30 Myanmar
UTC +7:00 Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam
UTC +8:00 Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan
UTC +9:00 Japan, South Korea
UTC +10:00 Papua New Guinea

Further developments

Channel NewsAsia relaunched on January 21, 2013, and began broadcasting 24 hours a day, up from 20 hours daily (6am to 2am, Singapore time). The network also announced at its relaunch that it would be expanding its programming and coverage, while the network’s new city studio in the Marina Bay Financial District was unveiled. [19]

In July 2014, CNA opened its Vietnam bureau, bringing the number of official news bureaus in South-east Asia and East Asia to 14. [20] CNA’s other bureaus include Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Seoul and Tokyo; unofficial bureaus are also maintained in cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi and Washington DC. [21]

In September 2014, the channel announced plans to expand its studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, into a fully functional high definition (HD) satellite studio. [22]

In 2016, Channel NewsAsia’s editorial team was merged with their counterparts from Mediacorp’s newspaper TODAY and Mediacorp Radio; the estimated staff of 700 journalists now occupy a "digital-first integrated newsroom" within the new purpose-built Mediacorp Campus facility in the one-north area. [23]



Channel NewsAsia is positioned as an alternative to Western-based media since its launch, emphasising its reporting on "global developments with Asian perspectives" and its ability to “understand Asia”, offering deeper insight into Asia as a network indigenous to the continent. [3]

The network’s positioning has been consistent since day one. In his speech at CNA’s launch on March 1, 1999, George Yeo said that "it is crucial that the Asian viewpoint, which occasionally will include the Singapore viewpoint, is also put across" amidst a "proliferation of media channels" at that time. [5]

"Willy-nilly, the international media has become an inseparable part of the domestic political process," the then Minister for Information & the Arts said. "Recent events in Indonesia and Malaysia demonstrate how the international media not only report on political developments, they also influence the course of these political developments."

Yeo added that with the broadcaster’s history and roots in Asia, "Channel NewsAsia's brand of journalism will reflect a different set of nuances and subtleties. Channel NewsAsia cannot displace the big boys but it can supplement what the big boys offer. Thoughtful Asian viewers would appreciate the different perspective that Channel NewsAsia brings."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, then Deputy Prime Minister, reiterated the network’s mission at the 2000 launch of CNA’s regional broadcasting arm. He said: "(Mediacorp) saw a role for a new station covering Singapore and the region, providing reliable, unbiased news that reflected regional realities, and maintaining a balance and ethos which would distinguish it from Western media reporting of Asia." [9]


CNA’s motto has been “Understand Asia” since its relaunch on January 21, 2013. [24]

Previous taglines have all emphasised CNA’s Asia-centric positioning – for example, “Providing Asian Perspectives”. [25]

CNA’s logo has remained unchanged since the network launched in 1999. [26]

The logo is the letter “A” in red and reshaped to look like a triangle with the crossbar lowered to the base. According to the CNA website, the logo was designed is to “give the impression of (the letter ‘A’) rising from the horizon of its base, reflecting in abstraction an emerging Asia”, with red used as it is “considered auspicious in many Asian cultures”. [3]


Channel NewsAsia’s weekly schedule is primarily rolling news programming from 2am to 6pm (Singapore time), with more current affairs, lifestyle magazine and in-depth analysis programmes airing in the evening and on weekends. [27]


The channel’s regular news bulletin is News Now, a live half-hour bulletin. In the absence of News Now or a main bulletin show, a two-minute Headline News bulletin runs on the hour or half hour before all scheduled programmes.

CNA’s main bulletin shows are:

News Now 
2am, 4am, 6am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 12am
First Look Asia 
7-9am, weekdays only
Asia Business First 
9-10am, weekdays only
Primetime Asia  
Primetime World 
Singapore Tonight 
Sportsworld Weekend 
10.30-11pm, Sundays only

CNA also airs live sports events and produces news and current affairs programmes for other Mediacorp channels: in English for Channel 5, in Chinese for Channel 8 and Channel U, in Malay for Suria and in Tamil for Vasantham.

Regular programmes

Current affairs, analysis and lifestyle shows run throughout the day from 11am onwards and with greater frequency in the evening after 6pm, early mornings (midnight to 6am) and on weekends. Programmes are typically rerun twice within a week of their initial airing, especially in early mornings and on weekends.

Several programmes have been long-running staples on CNA and Singapore television, such as Conversation With, Get Rea! (read as “Get Real”) and Money Mind. Conversation With (originally titled In Conversation) is older than CNA itself, having debuted in April 1986 on Singapore’s main English-language television channel, Channel 5, and has twice been nominated for Best Talk Show at the Asian Television Awards.

Among CNA’s regular shows (which run as seasons) are:

  • Conversation With
  • Correspondents’ Diary
  • Get Rea!
  • Insight
  • Money Mind
  • Perspectives
  • World View

Shows which have run for at least a couple of seasons include Power List Asia and Undercover Asia. CNA also runs subtitled programmes acquired from other Asian networks, such as Japan Hour (produced by NHK).

Topical features

Limited-run documentaries, topical series and other lifestyle programmes air on CNA throughout the week and cover wide spectrum of topics and interests. Some examples currently on air, as of March 21, 2018, are:

  • Don’t Make Us Invisible (on migrant/transient workers in Singapore)
  • Facing Depression
  • Just Like You (profiles of physically or otherwise challenged individuals)
  • Refugee Chef
  • Super Octogenarians
  • Tapestry: The Heart of ASEAN

On-air staff


Channel NewsAsia’s roster of on-air presenters currently stands at 25 as of March 21, 2018, according to the network’s website. [28] All presenters are either of Asian ethnicity or have mixed ancestry – Adam Bakhtiar [29] and Cheryl Fox, [30] for example.

The majority are Singaporean while seven presenters are originally from Brunei (Steve Lai), [31] Canada (Teresa Tang), [32] China (Henry Yin), [33] Malaysia (Bakhtiar, Gerard Lam), [29] [34] the Philippines (Sarah Al-Khaldi), [35] and South Korea (Chloe Cho and Julie Yoo). [36] [37]).

CNA’s longest-serving presenter, Glenda Chong, joined Mediacorp in December 1997, although not all of her 20 years were spent on camera. [38] The Singaporean journalist spent three years in Shanghai as CNA’s China correspondent from 2008 to 2011, during which time she covered the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Sichuan earthquake that same year. [39] Early in her career, she was named joint winner of the Best News Anchor award, together with her co-presenter Melvin Yong, at the 2001 Asian Television Awards. [40]

The non-Singaporean presenters all joined CNA with prior broadcasting experience. Bahktiar, [29] Al-Khaldi [41] and Cho [36] all served at CNBC Asia. Cho was also a contributing reporter for CNN World Report and was a news editor and anchor for Korean network ArirangTV. Cho’s compatriot Yoo [34] also joined CNA from Arirang.

Tang, [32] Yin [33] and Singaporean Loke Wei Sue [42] all had stints with China Central Television (CCTV). Tang has also worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and interned with Al Jazeera. Lam started his career with Malaysian network ntv7. [34]


Channel NewsAsia has 17 correspondents at present, according to the network’s website. [43] This does not include unofficial or freelance correspondents.

Reflecting CNA’s focus, the correspondents are all based in South-east Asia or East Asia. They include long-serving journalists such as Melissa Goh (Malaysia), who joined Mediacorp predecessor TCS in 1999, [44] and Lim Yun Suk, who began covering her native South Korea for CNA in 2000 (with the exception of 2004 to 2006, when she joined Bloomberg). [45]

Digital news

As an online brand in Singapore, Channel NewsAsia is a close second after The Straits Times, Singapore's leading newspaper, according to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017 published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Of 2,000 Singaporeans surveyed in late January and early February 2017, 44 per cent reported that they use the Straits Times weekly while 41 per cent keep up with CNA online. Online users also rated CNA higher than ST for accuracy and reliability (42% vs 39%), strong viewpoints (31% vs 28%) and for entertainment value (19% vs 17%). [46]

Online push

In line with global newsroom trends since the turn of the decade, Channel NewsAsia’s newsroom operates on a digital-first strategy. [47] Priority is given to breaking news online – on the website, its mobile app and through social media – before putting the story out on other platforms.

The digital drive in both Mediacorp and Singapore Press Holdings newsrooms grew in pace following Singapore’s 2011 General Election, dubbed the "Internet GE" by some following a stronger opposition showing although an Institute of Policy Studies survey of 2,000 Singaporeans concluded that the impact of online and social media was "overstated". [48]

Mediacorp’s digital-first pursuit was confirmed it appointed its first ever head of digital enterprise, Nick Fawbert, in July 2013. [49] The strategy was underlined when Fawbert’s replacement, Shane Mitchell, said on his arrival in March 2015 that one of his "first priorities is to work with colleagues across the organisation to implement a digital-first strategy in our delivery of key content and services – the news, for example". [50]

In 2016, CNA’s editorial staff moved into a “digital-first integrated newsroom” together with their counterparts from Mediacorp’s newspaper TODAY and Mediacorp Radio, as Mediacorp moved into its new home in the one-north area, a purpose-built facility dubbed the Mediacorp Campus. [23] In March 2017, then-CEO Shaun Seow launching the first phase of an extensive upgrade of its digital platforms while outlined Mediacorp’s new digital focus in a memo to all staff, stressing the need for a digital-first approach in not just the newsrooms but within the Mediacorp conglomerate as a whole. [51]


The domain was registered by Mediacorp on February 23, 1999, a week before the network’s launch. [52]

Channel NewsAsia’s website has broad news coverage – with section landing pages for sports, lifestyle, health and technology – although its focus remains on Singapore and the Asia-Pacific, its first and second main sections, respectively.

According to Alexa, is the 35th most popular website in Singapore – among news sites operated by Singapore media (both mainstream and alternative), CNA trails only The Straits Times. [53]

As of March 20, 2018, is ranked around 6,900 in the world. Nearly 58 per cent of visitors to are from within Singapore, followed by 9.8% from the United States and 4.3% from China. Visitors spend an average of just over 3 mins on the CNA site and view 1.87 pages daily, with an average bounce rate of 64.4 percent. [54]

Other online media

CNA’s has the largest following on Facebook among Singapore media organisations with roughly 2.5 million users (as of March 21, 2018), [55] 40 per cent more than The Straits Times’ 1.5 million Facebook followers. [56] On Twitter, CNA has 883,000 followers, [57] trailing ST’s following of 995,000. [58]

The network’s programming is available on Mediacorp’s over-the-top (OTT) service Toggle.[59] In August 2016, Toggle recorded over 11 million video views for live and repeat telecasts of four major events, including the National Day Parade on August 9. The "strong viewership indicates growing demand for the use of digital, on-demand platforms to access live events", noted National University of Singapore assistant professor Debbie Goh in the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017. [47]

See also


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  6. ^ "BizFile online business registry". Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore. Retrieved March 13, 2018. 
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  9. ^ a b "Speech by DPM Lee Hsien Loong at the Asian launch of Channel NewsAsia at the Raffles Ballroom". National Archives of Singapore. Singapore: Media Division, Ministry of Information and the Arts. September 28, 2000. Retrieved March 21, 2018. 
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External links