CNN to start live daily news programme from new UAE facility

October 14th, 2008 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 14 (IANS) American television network CNN International is expanding its operations in the Middle East with plans to start live daily news programming from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next year.The network said in a statement that it was planning to start its first regularly scheduled daily live show in the region from its brand new broadcast facility in Abu Dhabi in early 2009.

“Our UAE expansion is one of our boldest editorial undertakings of recent years and one that builds on our existing newsgathering heritage in the region,” CNN International managing director Tony Maddox said in the statement.

“Our new operation in Abu Dhabi will enable us to continue to meet and exceed the demands of our audiences at a time when many of our competitors are having to retrench,” he added.

In addition to a daily local primetime newscast, the production centre in the new Abu Dhabi media zone, ‘twofour54 Abu Dhabi’, will provide the infrastructure for expanded newsgathering activities in the region.

It is expected to enhance CNN’s existing representation in the region, which currently comprises news operations in Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai and Jerusalem.

After operating from Dubai for a long time, setting up a new base in the UAE’s capital city was a natural next step, Maddox said.

In addition to the launch of live daily news programming, CNN will also move the production of its Middle East focused feature shows, ‘Inside the Middle East’ and ‘Marketplace Middle East’, to the UAE.

The new CNN hub will be a custom-built news centre overseen by the newly created role of managing editor CNN Abu Dhabi, the statement said.

The operation will house approximately 30 staff, including a new CNN International anchor and programming, production and newsgathering staff.

The ‘twofour54′ media zone was unveiled by the Abu Dhabi government Sunday “with the aim of creating a new industry opportunity for the region by providing a collaborative and fully equipped centre that brings together local, regional and international companies ranging from film, broadcast, digital, publishing and music industries”.

Apart from CNN, other major international media content creation companies that will reportedly commence operations from there are BBC, Random House, Harper Collins, Rotana Studios, Financial Times, Abu Dhabi Media Co, C Sky Pictures and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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