A new Arabic-language television channel was launched by BBC World Service Television (WSTV) on 20 June. The service began with two hours a day of international news and factual programmes and is available on the pay television network of Rome-based Orbit Communications Company. The service is to be increased to 24 hours a day by the end of 1994.
Business news is to be a leading feature of the new service. A 15-minute business bulletin is to join the programming from 3 July, to be increased later to half an hour. It will feature a mixture of Arab and international business news, backed by high-level interviews. The service will cover stock market and energy news in depth and include market data from Reuters.
The business news service will expand into two 30-minute programmes daily, to go out in the morning and the evening, when the schedule is extended to 24 hours a day. The lead presenter for the business service is Orfan Arab, who has joined WSTV from Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC). Orbit is owned and managed by the Al-Mawarid Group of Saudi Arabia. Its plans call for the provision of 21 channels using digitised transmission (MEED 25:3:94, Cover Story)