Sky News to launch Arabic news channel

An Arabic language version of the UK’s 24-hour news channel Sky News is to be launched from Abu Dhabi.

The announcement follows the signing of a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp (ADMIC), a private investment company owned by HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB). The new station will air across the Middle East and North Africa region from 2012, competing with the likes of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, as well as Kingdom Holdings’ upcoming news channel, which is expected to launch next year.

Based in Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 media production zone, the new company will operate under the Sky News brand and will cover regional and international news through the 24-hour channel, as well as a video-rich website and mobile applications.

Content for the channel, website and mobile applications will be created by more than 180 multimedia journalists, supported by a full technical and operations team. In addition, there will be a network of newsgathering bureaux across the region, with further offices in London and Washington DC.

Adrian Wells, previously Sky News’ head of international news, has been appointed to work with the ADMIC team to launch the new channel and a director of news will be appointed in due course to lead the venture on a permanent basis.

James Murdoch, Chairman of BSkyB, said: “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.”