Sky News confirms Arabic news channel venture

Sky News has confirmed it is in talks to launch a new 24/7 Arabic language satellite news channel.

BSkyB, which is 39 per cent owned by News Corp, confirmed today that it is in discussions with an Abu Dhabi-based private investor on a 50-50 joint venture to set up the channel.

According to Sky News: “The service would offer a new style of independent and neutral multi-media news coverage for countries in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). It would be based in Abu Dhabi but have bureaux in most major regional and international news centres and would be available free-to-air across MENA.”

It revealed that the channel could be launched within the next two years if discussions are successful.

Head of Sky News John Ryley said: “The Middle East is undergoing rapid economic and social development and is becoming an increasingly attractive region for media investment. This venture would build on our existing strengths as an international news provider and bring the Sky News brand to a new audience.

“Discussions are progressing well and we look forward to bringing a new approach to Arabic-language news.”

News Corp is currently seeking to buy out the BSkyB shares that it does not currently own.

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