The BBC World Service Television (WSTV) signed on 29 March a 10-year Arabic programme supply and distribution contract with Orbit Communications Company.

The channel, to be launched in the middle of 1994, will initially offer six hours a day of international and Middle Eastern news. This will move to a continuous 24-hour schedule before the end of the year. The BBC is to employ 220 people on the service.

Orbit, which is operating from facilities in Rome, will launch its first channels this spring. They are to include America Plus, which will comprise two channels of general entertainment from the US; a news channel; a sports channel; and a music channel, based on the VH1 service in the US.

The WSTV’s first service is a 24-hour-a-day news and information service carried by Star Television of Hong Kong. The WSTV plans to launch other non-English television services (MEED 25:3:94).