Sky News Arabia breaks new program and region’s first virtual reality news studio

Photo: WAM

Sky News Arabia has announced its biggest enhancements since the 2012 launch of the channel, as part of its continued efforts to set the bar for world-class journalism in the region.

A new programming line-up, new presenters, cutting-edge broadcast technology, and a digital-first approach to content creation as well as a refreshed schedule going live seven days a week are among the exciting enhancements.

New virtual news studios using the latest in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology are being introduced for the first time in the region, giving Sky News Arabia the most cutting-edge newsroom in the Middle East and North Africa. Three new shows will be launched using the new state-of-the-art technologies including a daily sport show live from the AR set.

The new technology will be accompanied by ground-breaking editorial content across TV and digital platforms that includes live coverage from daybreak until the early hours of the morning, seven days a week, and programs that cover current events and analysis, business, technology, lifestyle and sports.

A new dedicated documentary unit will also be launched to offer viewers more investigative and informative stories from around the region.

Sky News Arabia’s Head of News, Hani Abuayyash, hailed the announcement as a "fantastic moment" in the history of the channel and its biggest-ever enhancement, leading the way for high quality storytelling and news broadcasting in an increasingly digital world.

The changes follow a record of impressive growth and will further cement Sky News Arabia’s position as the leading news channel in the UAE and one of the most-viewed channels in the Arab world, accelerating its engagement with viewers across the MENA region.

Abuayyash said: "Today is a fantastic moment in the history of Sky News Arabia. We have raised the game for news broadcasters in the region, with new ways of showcasing our content and stories that ensure we continue to serve our audiences in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as having a global outlook.

"No matter when you tune into Sky News Arabia, you will find high-quality news output and in-depth reporting that is relevant to your life and the issues you care about most. These changes will help to bring the news to life, making our content more visually compelling and reflective of the fact that our viewers are increasingly consuming news online and want more live news coverage as it happens.

The new programming includes ‘News Radar’ at 6pm. Presented by Fadila Soussi, the show will feature analysis and discussion of the latest world news with two guests who have different points of view, while an enhanced version of ‘Timeline’ at midnight will see new host Karolina Nassar present a review of the day’s news using the latest VR technologies.

The ‘Newsroom’ show will now run seven days a week at 10pm with Mohannad Al Khatib hosting guests to discuss the latest hot topics and news analysis.

A brand-new format for the ‘Morning Show’ will also be introduced. Presented by Nancy Tabet and Hani Ziade it will cover topics such as culture, music, food and fashion alongside current affairs, business and sports news. Similarly, an enhanced format for the "Evening Show" will run every weekday at 8pm. Presented by Faisal Huraiz and Majed Al Faresi it will provide viewers with the latest news and in-depth coverage from across the Gulf region.

Sky News Arabia’s sports program ‘Mala’eb’ will be broadcast from an AR studio daily at 1.15am, using the latest in graphics technology to bring viewers up close to all the action.

Additionally, a new international news segment will be broadcast at 2am to appeal to Arab speakers in North African countries and Western time zones. An in-depth business bulletin presented by Editor-in-Chief of Business, Lubna Bouza, will also be broadcast throughout the day three times a week.

Sky News Arabia is also launching made-for digital programming designed to appeal to a new generation across the region. These programs have been specifically designed for digital channels and will feature youth news, humanitarian stories, travel, current affairs and a look back at some of the most significant historical events.

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