Two major announcements were made by Alarab news during a press conference in Bahrain this week. The appointment of Fahad AlSukait as the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Arab TV News Company was announced and it was revealed that broadcasting would begin February 1st.
Alarab news is a new channel owned by HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and seeks to usher in a completely new style of news programming for the Middle East viewers.
“Other news channels focus a lot on the big politics of the region and the wars and conflicts occurring in the Arab world,” said AlSukait during the press conference. “Conflict anywhere is tragic, but we want to focus on other things as well: women’s rights, housing issues, poverty. These aren’t glamourous stories, but they matter to the Arab viewer.”
With a core focus on news, the all-Arabic language Alarab News Channel will deliver programming that covers politics, business and social affairs in addition to travel, sports and culture. The region’s leading business news will be delivered through its cooperation agreement with Bloomberg.
Alarab hopes to break the mould of news presentation, becoming a platform for transparent presentation and discussion of the region’s most intractable issues and challenges and will raise the relevant questions that are of concern to its viewers.
The news channel will also be one of the most state of the art in the region in terms of its broadcast infrastructure. During an exclusive tour of the Alarab studio, Digital Broadcast Middle East was shown how they have managed to condense all the equipment they need into what is a fairly small space compared to other studios.
“The Mosart newsroom automation system is ground-breaking in the Middle East,” Jamal Khashoggi, managing director, told Digital Broadcast Middle East. “Where most newsrooms need a huge space in front of the studio for the cameramen to move the cameras and for all the additional crew, we’ve eliminated that by automating all the cameras, lighting and sound.”
With an initial focus on the Middle East through satellite capacity agreements with NileSat and ArabSat, Alarab news will in future be looking at broadcasting globally to “Arabs everywhere” according to Khashoggi.
However, their broadcasts in regions with relatively small Arab communities will be done via IPTV.