France 24 plans all-Arabic anniversary b'cast

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PARIS -- Gallic news channel France 24 will celebrate its one-year anniversary Thursday with a 24-hour, all-Arabic broadcast, network executives announced at a press conference in Paris on Wednesday.

Since its launch in 2006, the network has maintained a 9% weekly market share in Europe, more than double that of Al Jazeera (4%) and one-third of BBC World (27%).

The channel, broadcast in French, English and Arabic, is also available via Internet streaming on France24.com, which attracts more than 4.3 million unique visitors, 84% of whom log in from outside France.

France 24 also announced plans to launch its trilingual network on mobile phones on demand. France 24's latest news bulletins, weather forecasts, economic reports and interviews will be accessible worldwide via the mobile format. A mobile, trilingual Web site will also be available via mobile.france24.com.

The channel will continue its expansion through the mobile world with a new partnership with telecom Nokia to offer its main broadcasts via a VOD service.

France 24 will also launch a new interactive Web site titled "The Observers" whereby Internet users worldwide can submit video, text or photo content to be selected by France 24 journalists.

"For its first anniversary, nothing could be better than to develop France 24 in these two directions: first, to enable Arabic speakers to be given parity with English and French speakers. Secondly, to focus on the fantastic development of technology and on Internet expertise in order to strengthen the modern and interactive side of France 24," France 24 CEO Alain de Pouzilhac said.
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