NDTV has announced the official launch of NDTV Arabia, a 24-hour free-to-air infotainment-based channel that will be available in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The channel will be available on Nile Sat and is estimated to reach between 70-100 million homes in the region. With this initiative, NDTV Arabia has emerged as MENA’s first local and predominantly English infotainment channel aimed at the international Asians.
Commenting on the launch, Dr Prannoy Roy, Chairman, NDTV Ltd, said, “An estimated 31 per cent of the Gulf's total population and 56 per cent of the workforce consists of a heterogeneous population of expatriates, predominantly those from the Asian sub-continent. Further, driven by the unprecedented economic growth and diversification, this expatriate population is rapidly expanding, and with it, the need for quality localised infotainment catering to them.”
Dr Roy added that NDTV Arabia had been conceived with the aim of filling that gap. “Given the pent-up demand for such an offering, our expertise and our robust business model, we are confident of the absolute success of this channel and hope to break even very early,” he said.
Aimed at achieving similar, if not a more pronounced, success in the Middle East, NDTV Arabia content will mostly be driven by news, current affairs, talk shows, and investment and finance programmes for the international Asian. Prominent NDTV presenters will anchor the shows initially, and in due course, regional talent will be introduced.
Elaborating on the programming, Shyatto Raha, CEO, Emerging Markets BV, NDTV Group, said, “Focused on superior quality programming, NDTV Arabia will be the first channel in the Middle East to provide news in English and Hindi. The channel aims to cater to the growing interest in Asian current affairs and economy, and the programming will be infotainment-based. In the long run, the channel aims to localise the content with a bureau in Dubai, followed by presence in other regional markets as well.”