BSkyB says in talks to set up 24-hour Arabic news channel

14th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

British pay-TV giant BSkyB said Wednesday it was in talks with an Abu Dhabi-based private investor about setting up a 24-hour Arabic language satellite news channel.

The new channel, which would operate under BSkyB's Sky News brand, would be a 50-50 joint venture between the two parties.

No details were given about the Abu Dhabi-based investor.

BSkyB said in a statement the new channel would "offer a new style of multimedia news across the Middle East, North Africa region, offering independent and neutral coverage of the news agenda."

The channel, which would be based in Abu Dhabi and would operate on a free-to-air basis, could launch within two years if the talks are successful.

John Ryley, head of Sky News, said the venture would build on the channel's "existing strengths".

"The Middle East is undergoing rapid economic and social development and is becoming an increasingly attractive region for media investment," Ryley added.

BSkyB is 39 percent-owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp group.

Last month, BSkyB rejected an offer from News Corp for the 61-percent stake it does not already own, saying the 700 pence a share proposal fell short of its expectations.

© 2010 AFP

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