PARIS, Jan. 10 - The competition stares dead straight into Ulysse Gosset's eyes every moment he sits at his cluttered desk at temporary headquarters near the Seine. Three yards away flickers a television tuned to CNN, which 25 years ago created a powerful genre with a 24-hour all-news network that now reaches more than two billion people.
For many countries, such global power is as tantalizing as new oil wells, inspiring fresh competition from India to Russia and Qatar to France, where all-news channels are emerging with different perspectives. But to sway the world, the messengers have settled on a lingua franca: English. Mr. Gosset, who is helping to lead a project to create an all-news French channel this year, is unabashed about why its breaking headlines will be delivered in French and English.
"Today news channels are part of the global battle in the world," he said. "It's as important as traditional diplomacy and economic strength. If we have a real desire to communicate around the world, we need to do it with the right medium, and that's English."
The hotly debated French project, which is scheduled to start by December with 75 million euros ($91 million) in government funds, is one of several all-news channels that are rushing headlong to television screens and Web sites this year. Veteran television executives say the burst of all-news channels has been ignited by two critical forces: the falling cost of technology and television's power in the international marketplace.
"Many communities want to have their voice in the global conversation," said Richard Sambrook, director of the BBC's World Service and global news division. In the spring, Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based bane of the Bush administration, plans to roll out its English version. A Kremlin-financed news channel in English, Russia Today, began broadcasting last month despite hacker attacks that briefly shut it down.
In India, a country of 15 official languages where English is deemed an "associate" tongue, urban television viewers will soon become the focus of an old-fashioned media war in English. One competitor is The Times of India, which in October announced an alliance with Reuters to start an all-news channel in English.
Two months later, a rival with a familiar brand name slipped quickly onto India's cable and satellite channels. That new channel, CNN IBN, is a partnership forged in October between CNN and the Indian broadcaster IBN. CNN IBN began broadcasting with little fanfare, but quickly sought to make a name for itself with investigative reports about government corruption and juicy tales of the local movie industry, like the recent report: "Big Boys, Smuggled Toys: How Bollywood Uses Illegally Imported Cars."
The Times of India's Times Now is playing catch-up this month with a mix of news and weekend features, like a show called "The Foodie" and a business program, "Brand Equity," that are aimed at Indian urbanites. Sunil Lulla, chief executive of Times Now, said his company had chosen English for its channel because it is the language of business and metropolitan India.
"We believe," he said, "that over the years to come, with a growing economy, a young consumer market, and as India gets more connected to the world, more people will be looking at news as a business tool."
For the record, CNN executives say they welcome new competition. "We're the pioneers of the 24-hour news business," said Claudia Coles, a CNN International spokeswoman in London. "Our view is that it further establishes the importance of the media and challenges us to do better."
But many all-news newcomers are drawing more inspiration from Al Jazeera, which they say has created an influential global voice for Arabs that was missing until the channel appeared. While the channel, started in 1996 and financed by the emir of Qatar, says it will begin broadcasting an English version in the spring, so far it has not announced any distribution deals with satellite or cable operators to carry the channel. Charlotte Dent, an Al Jazeera spokeswoman, would not comment on whether any alliances had been struck.