Alwaleed’s Alarab network to focus on Saudi, Gulf

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Alarab station, which will join the ranks of Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and the newly launched Sky News Arabia, will start broadcasting in about a year from now, focusing primarily on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, the venture’s general manager Jamal Khashoggi told Arabian Business.

The channel will recruit 300 people and be based at the World Trade Centre in Bahrain. Khashoggi declined to say how much Alwaleed will be spending on the channel, saying the Saudi prince has put a aside a “sizeable amount” to fund the channel.

“I see the future belonging for regional channels rather than just pan-Arab stations,” Khashoggi said when asked how Alarab will differentiate itself in what some analysts say is a saturated market.

“This is because of the increased freedom to broadcast in and outside the region and be able to launch a channel with relative ease,” he said. “Consider for instance that in Egypt you have 16 or 17 channels so the competition is more fierce for pan-Arab channels so we will focus mostly on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.”