Sky planning Arabic news channel

BSkyB is planning to launch an Arabic news service, according to British press reports.

The UK pay-TV operator is in talks to develop a joint-venture 24-hour rolling news channel in Arabic, based in Abu Dhabi. Sky plans to own 50% of the channel, which would launch using the Sky News brand and become the broadcasters first channel launch outside the UK. Head of Sky News John Ryley told the Financial Times that the venture would take the Sky News brand to a new audience. Discussions are progressing and Sky is looking forward to bringing a new approach to Arabic-language news, he added.

Sky News would be competing with a number of regional players in the Middle East, including Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and BBC Arabic. Last week, Saudi Arabias Prince Alwaleed Bin Talals Kingdom Holding revealed plans to launch an Arabic news channel in partnership with the Fox Network.