BBC launches Arabic channel next week
Dubai, March 3, 2008
BBC is set to launch its Arabic television news channel next week in a move aimed at
strengthening its multi-media news services for the Arab world.
BBC Arabic Television will be a news and information channel that will run alongside its existing radio and online offer.
The new channel will go live on March 11 at 10.00hrsGMT, said a top BBC official.
'Initially broadcast for 12 hours a day, the television channel is part of the BBC’s integrated multi-media news service for the Arab world. It will move to 24/7 in the summer and is the BBC’s first publicly funded international television service,' explained BBC World Service Director Nigel Chapman.
BBC Arabic is already available on air and on demand 24 hours a day, seven days a week on radio, on the internet through bbcarabic.com, on mobiles and on handheld computers - in whatever way best suits the audience.
'The new channel will be freely available to everyone with a satellite or cable connection in the region, whether they are in North Africa, the Middle East or the Gulf. BBC Arabic television is distributed on the Arabsat, Eutelsat and Nilesat satellite systems,' he added.
“BBC Arabic is renowned for broadcasting impartial and accurate news and information which is strong on analysis and expertise. This enhanced multimedia service meets the needs of an audience with a very strong appetite for news and debate. We will be contemporary in style; and independent and incisive in our journalism,” Chapman noted.
The TV channel’s schedule includes news headlines every 15 minutes and a full news summary every 30 minutes.
BBC Arabic will draw on the BBC’s extensive newsgathering operation, harnessing the BBC’s resources of over 250 correspondents reporting from 72 bureaus around the world – the biggest newsgathering team in the world.
A showcase of the best BBC documentaries, and specially produced in-depth reports from the Arab world – will reinforce the TV schedule.
Its presenters will include Rania Al Alattar; Fida Bassil; Tony El-Khoury; Dalia Mohamed; Osman Ayfarah; Hasan Muawad; Lina Musharbash; and Dina Waqqaf.
Additional on-the-spot reporting and regional expertise comes from a vast network of local reporters and correspondents throughout the Arab world and beyond.
The channel also features news and current affairs programmes such as the twice-daily 'Newshour' which highlights news, analysis, key interviews and debate on the top events making the news in the region and around the world that day.
It also features the pioneering live multi-media interactive debating forum Nuqtat Hewar; already popular on radio and online - three days a week.
The TV channel launch will be accompanied by a major re-launch of bbcarabic.com to include embedded video and a new media player. The radio schedule has been extensively refreshed to reflect the new multi-media approach.
Currently over 13 million people listen to BBC Arabic every week while its website bbcarabic.com receives over 21 million page impressions and has over one million unique users each month, Chapman said.
Head of BBC Arabic, Hosam El Sokkari said: “BBC Arabic is already renowned for reporting more than just conflict and politics. BBC Arabic aims to continue to broaden the news agenda for audiences in the region. It will reflect the breadth of the Arab audience’s interests.”
“Only BBC Arabic can make the unique offer to Arab audiences: it can be their ears and eyes. Not just in the countries where people live; but throughout the region and around the rest of the world,' Sokkari observed.
“We will offer comprehensive multi-media news reporting and analysis to audiences and, in turn, involve Arab audiences in an authentic dialogue on the issues that reflect their lives,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service