Al Arabiya Network celebrates 20 years of being on air and announces new strategy
Posted on 2023 Mar,05

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Al Arabiya Network, the Arab media outlet, celebrates its 20th anniversary of being on air.

The network – which launched on 3 March 2003 – has been striving to provide unrivalled news coverage through its editorial approach. 

The launch of Al Arabiya Network twenty years ago came at a time when the Arab region and the rest of the world were witnessing major historical and geopolitical transformations, most notably the Iraq War. It was throughout this period that the broadcaster cemented its position in the region as an important source of news as its highly skilled and dynamic team of journalists, editors, and producers delivered around-the-clock, impactful, and superior news coverage, in addition to local and global economic, social, and cultural affairs.

Over the last decade alone, Al Arabiya Network has fearlessly reported from the very epicentre of events, including the Syrian, Libyan, and Yemeni wars, in addition to live coverage of political movements in territories such as Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, and Turkey. Other notable events in recent history include the COVID-19 pandemic, the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and its resulting energy and supply chain crises.


Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim on broadcasting from Riyadh, digital expansion, AI, and globalisation

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the news network, Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, Chairman of both MBC GROUP and Al Arabiya Network, has revealed that there’s a “new strategy” in place for the next phase of Al Arabiya Network. This phase of expansion has already commenced following the moving of the broadcaster’s headquarters to the Saudi capital of Riyadh, where the latest content is created from a brand-new state-of-the-art news television studio.

Al Ibrahim stated: “Broadcasting from Riyadh signifies a new phase in Al Arabiya Network. This new phase in our wider strategy also comprises digital expansion, artificial intelligence [AI], continued regional leadership, as well as a focus on global leadership.”

He added: “Over the last two decades, Al Arabiya Network has undergone both horizontal and vertical growth, transforming into a fully integrated news network. It has established itself as a beacon of media credibility, journalistic impartiality, and technological advancement across the world – a well-deserved reputation that has aligned with Al Arabiya Network’s vision since its inception in 2003.”

Mamdouh AlMuhaini, General Manager of Al Arabiya Network, added: “Throughout its twenty years, Al Arabiya Network has worked to become a trusted source of news thanks to a highly qualified team of journalists and producers sharing events with our Arab viewers wherever they are. Al Arabiya Network continuously keeps pace with the major transformations witnessed by the Arab world and the world at large; as a result, it has been able to meet the needs of its audience by providing a reliable news service around the clock, in addition to constantly leading the way in utilising advanced technology available to the media industry.”

AlMuhaini continued: “All of this wouldn’t have been possible without Sheikh Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim and his board of directors, who – since day one – have been committed to drawing up a professional strategy focused on continuously and consistently developing and advancing Al Arabiya Network’s capabilities. This has resulted in transcending regional boundaries and establishing Al Arabiya Network as a trusted source of news around the world.”


Tamara the AI journalist

Considered a pioneer in adopting AI for news production, Al Arabiya Network became the first broadcaster of its kind to launch an AI “journalist” named Tamara.

Unveiled at the 17th edition of the Arab Media Forum in 2018, Tamara can analyse and process millions of information pieces in just a few milliseconds, as well as identify fake or incorrect news, as well as rephrase news articles into different formats based on a journalist's requirements.

Meanwhile, in late 2022, Al Arabiya Network unveiled its first AI host, Mira, who is fronting a programme called “Tech”. This marked the first time an AI presenter has hosted a regional show.


Digital expansion

Part of the Al Arabiya Network is Al Hadath, which focuses on extensive live coverage and news bulletins of events via TV and social media as they happen from across the Arab world and beyond.

Al Arabiya Network also operates a number of digital platforms under its umbrella, as well as the leading podcast service in the region, which is followed by and interacted with by millions around the world.

AlMuhaini explained: “Today, the network boasts approximately 180 million followers on our social media platforms, with content produced by our editorial team and channel correspondents recording views exceeding one billion views per month! These figures no doubt place Al Arabiya Network at the forefront of Arab and regional news channels and is on par with global counterparts as well.”

In recent months, Al Arabiya Network was the recipient of four awards at the 2022 Peacock Social Media Awards – part of the World Social Media Forum held in Amman, Jordan – including the award for ‘Best Podcast Service in Middle East’.

Another recent notable award saw Al Arabiya Network being honoured for ‘Excellence in Visual Storytelling’ at the BroadcastPro ME Summit and Awards 2022 in Dubai, UAE.


‘Akthar’ for Al Arabiya Network

In late 2022, Al Arabiya Network announced the launch of Akthar, a new digital content brand that features programmes focusing on various topics aimed at the region’s increasingly tech savvy media consumers. The offering complementing Al Arabiya Network features eight social media channels covering travel, cryptocurrencies, motoring, health, and more.

AlMuhaini elaborated: “The word ‘Akthar’ [which translates into ‘More’] is used to describe our commitment to continuously develop and expand Al Arabiya Network with no boundaries. And our celebrations have begun since broadcasting from our new studios in Riyadh. This development includes all stages of content production, with an unrivalled level of creativity.”

AlMuhaini also touched upon Al Arabiya Network’s commitment to providing opportunities for Arab youth, stating: “Our young journalists and editors use the latest technologies available to deliver news and knowledge in a contemporary style that resonates with the new generation’s lifestyle and content requirements.

“Our constant commitment to innovation truly boosts pride of being part of the Al Arabiya Network family, which fosters an excellent work environment and builds on the strong traditions that Al Arabiya Network has established over time.”


Paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the search for the truth

The 20th anniversary of Al Arabiya Network also remembers those who lost their lives during their service reporting from war zones and conflicts.

Referring to fallen colleagues as “martyrs of credibility and impartial news”, AlMuhaini acknowledged the sacrifices these individuals made in the pursuit of delivering the truth and overall journalistic excellence.

AlMuhaini stated: “I take this opportunity for us to once again pay tribute to our colleagues lost in service, and I extend my condolences to all of their friends and families. Their memories will always be cherished, especially during times of remembrance like these.”

He added: “I’d also like to pay tribute to those who risked their lives while reporting on important events, including kidnappings, imprisonment, and injuries. Despite the dangers they faced, including injury, these journalists remained committed to delivering accurate and truthful news to the public on behalf of Al Arabiya Network.”