Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has confirmed that his new Arabic language TV news channel, Alarab, will begin transmission on February 1, 2015 from its Bahrain headquarters.
The channel, initially slated to begin airing in end-2012, will have a core focus on news, and deliver programming that covers politics, business and social affairs in addition to travel, sports and culture.
Fahad AlSukait, head of Rotana Media Group – also owned by Prince Alwaleed, has been appointed as the chairman of the board and CEO of the Arab TV News Company, while Jamal Khashoggi will serve as the general manager of the channel, a statement said.
Prince Alwaleed, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, said that the new station, which has a co-operation agreement with Bloomberg, will “break the mould of news presentation”.
Speaking to Gulf Business in 2012, he said that the channel would be somewhere between Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.
“Al Jazeera is considered as the channel of the Arab masses and Al Arabiya is thought to be the channel of the governments. I don’t believe that it is the right choice, or the only choice that the Arab people should have,” he said.
Al Arab will adopt an evolutionary approach to news, he added.
“A great many changes are needed in the Arab world, and these can be achieved by orderly means and not necessarily by violence,” Alwaleed said.
Last year, the billionaire also confirmed that Bahrain was chosen as the headquarters of the new channel from an “economic point of view” and that the move would further improve historic relations between Saudi and Bahrain.
The move comes after studying several Arab destinations for the channel, he added.
The channel will be added to Rotana’s existing offering, which includes stations such as LBC and FOX.