Sky to Launch a Free-To-Air Arabic Language News Channel


LONDON -- BSkyB is launching a free-to-air Arabic language news channel in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp, aiming to expand its footprint in a region that BSkyB chairman James Murdoch said was "highly attractive" for media investment.

ADMIC, a private investment company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and BSkyB have set up a 50-50 joint venture that will launch the 24 hour news channel next year, operating under the Sky News brand.

It will have more than 180 multimedia journalists, based in new studios to be developed at Abu Dhabi's twofour54 media zone.

In addition, it will have a network of newsgathering bureaus across MENA, further offices in London and Washington DC, and access to Sky News' wider network of international bureaus.

Adrian Wells, previously Sky News' head of international news, has been appointed to work with the ADMIC team to launch the new channel.

A permanent director of news will be appointed in due course.

"We intend to set a new standard for broadcasting in the Middle East and North Africa," said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of ADMIC and of the new venture, who said the channel would be "an important independent voice for the Arab world."

James Murdoch said the region was a new investment frontier.

"The Middle East and North Africa is a highly attractive region for media investment and Abu Dhabi is an excellent location from which to enter this exciting marketplace."