Al Arab, the new Arabic news channel financed by Saudi billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, is gearing up to start transmission from its Bahrain headquarters. The business-focused channel is expected to launch its FTA service by June this year.
The channel was first mooted in July 2010 with rumours of a partnership with News Corp. However, latest reports suggest that Al Arab now has a relationship with Bloomberg TV. It was formally announced In December 2011 that Al Arab would be based in Bahrain with the government said to be ‘supporting’ the channel to the tune of USD 10 million per year for 10 years, plus the cost of services which are underwritten by a further USD 2.5 million per year.
Prince al-Waleed bin Talal is also reported to be moving his Rotana group of music and film channels to Bahrain in return for an annual contribution to its costs of USD 7 million per year for 10 years, plus a one-off payment of USD 10 million for equipping an office block to house the company’s 150 staff.