Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Creative Clusters Authority, on Tuesday officially inaugurated CNN’s new hi-tech studio in Dubai.
The inauguration took place on the 14th anniversary of the launch of ‘CNN Arabic’ from Dubai.
Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed said, "Dubai has steadily been enhancing its position as a unique and strategic hub for Arab and international media organisations and raising its profile in the global media industry. It has also been constantly enhancing the enabling environment it provides media organisations by offering a high-quality infrastructure and efficient logistics services.
"This is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the high priority he has placed on the development of media as one of the sectors that contributes to the country’s larger economic diversification while also touching people’s lives."
Sheikh Maktoum said, "From a very early stage, Dubai has been working to transform itself into a knowledge-based economy and create a fertile ground and enabling environment for innovation and creative talent to flourish. Dubai has always been a place that has encouraged and promoted creativity and innovation. Our successful relationship with companies like CNN is part of the strategy of establishing partnerships with leading private sector companies. This spirit of partnership, combined with the establishment of Free Zones like Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and International Media Production Zone, which provide specialised services to the media, has been one of the key factors behind the vibrant growth of the media sector in Dubai."
He was accompanied by Mohammad Abdulla Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO, Tecom Group, and a number of senior officials.
CNN’s new studio provides the network with a new facility to tap into the growing range of stories emanating from Dubai. CNN will also offer an array of new video capabilities to CNNArabic.com, which has seen strong audience engagement around its increasingly video-led story-telling.
Situated in Dubai’s Media City, the new studio incorporates the latest in HD and digital technology. In addition to supporting CNN Arabic’s evolving offering, it is designed to enable the network to get stories on the air as quickly as possible. The facility also features a system called Global Control, which allows any CNN control room, anywhere in the world, to take command of the studio and operate it remotely.
CNN Arabic will use the studio for interviews and a range of video content, while CNN shows across the network will also utilise the facility for news and programming. CNN International’s flagship current affairs programme, Connect the World with Becky Anderson, which broadcasts from CNN’s Abu Dhabi bureau, will also be able to anchor shows from Dubai if required.
Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO, Tecom Group praised the partnership between CNN and Dubai Media City (DMC) over the last 14 years, saying CNN was one of DMC’s key partners from the very beginning. "Over the last 14 years, Dubai Media City has evolved into a major hub for media companies. We are proud that CNN Arabic has proven to be a highly successful venture developed out of Dubai and we are now very happy to see a new facility - a hi-tech studio that will be a valuable addition to the news network’s regional operations. I am sure that this new studio will help CNN cover regional news more comprehensively. We at Dubai Media City are keen to strengthen this productive partnership and firmly hope that this and other similar partnerships will help us generate many more joint successes and achievements," she said.
Caroline Faraj, Vice-President of Arabic Services for CNN, said, "This is a wonderful moment for CNN in the region. This versatile new studio is full of cutting edge broadcasting technology, which will add a completely new dimension to our digital operation here in Dubai. It will open the door to a suite of new content from CNN Arabic, and provide superb new facilities for CNN as a whole in the Middle East."
Faraj added, "I’m also particularly excited about the opportunities and new experiences it will offer our internship programme, which has given many interns the chance to gain a foothold in the media industry since its inception 14 years ago. It will be a great chance for them to gain additional skills with the latest equipment."
CNN’s continuing evolution of its Middle East presence is a key component of parent company Turner’s longstanding commitment to the region.
Rani R Raad, Turner MD for the Middle East and President of CNN International Commercial, said, "This investment in Dubai further consolidates our presence in the UAE and really takes our commitment to the region as a whole to the next level. We want to continue to serve our audiences with great content across every platform, and this will enhance our ability to do that."
The new Dubai studio is the latest addition to CNN’s operations in the Middle East. CNN Arabic launched in 2002 and the network’s Abu Dhabi bureau followed in 2009. As well as the nightly Connect the World with Becky Anderson show, feature programming including Inside the Middle East, CNN Marketplace Middle East and One Square Metre are produced from CNN Abu Dhabi. CNN also operates a number of news bureaus across the region.