FRANCE 24’s Arabic channel begins broadcasting 24 hours a day from noon (Paris time) on Tuesday.
Less than four years after the creation of the news channel, which broadcasts in French, English and Arabic, FRANCE 24 is the first French TV network to provide a 24/7 news service entirely in Arabic.
The Arabic service began in April 2007, broadcasting for four hours a day, which was increased to 10 hours a day in April 2009.
Although the service is aimed primarily at viewers in the Middle East and North Africa, the Arabic service is available throughout France on of all the main cable service providers from Tuesday.
FRANCE 24, which was launched in 2006, counts 20 million viewers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a number which is growing daily.
Of those viewers FRANCE 24 counts some 2.6 million opinion leaders across the Middle East and North Africa, a significantly larger proportion than in other regions where the channel broadcasts.
A TNS-Sofres poll, carried out in October 2009, found that 80 percent of these opinion leaders strongly supported the extension of FRANCE 24’s Arabic service to 24 hours.
As with the French and English channels, FRANCE 24’s Arabic service will continue to focus on the channel’s core editorial lines: news, business, culture and sport.
The Arabic service will concentrate on the prime-time evening period of 8pm to 1am with an extended service on Saturdays and Sundays, which are often working days in Arabic-speaking countries.
The service is run by more than 100 journalists from across the Arab world, working closely with their French and English-speaking colleagues.
FRANCE 24 directors Alain de Pouzilhac (CEO) and Christine Ockrent (Director General) will visit Algiers, Amman, Beirut, Cairo and Casablanca from 10 to 18 October to promote the channel’s launch to 24 hours.