CNN International will begin broadcasting live daily programming from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates next year, marking the network’s first regularly scheduled live program from the Middle East.
The Abu Dhabi broadcast center, set to open in early 2009, will be CNN’s fourth international broadcasting center—joining London, Hong Kong and Mexico City—and dovetails with the ambitious plans it outlined last year to expand its international presence. In November 2007, it announced the hiring of an additional 50 staff including 12 new correspondent positions as well as plans to open new editorial operations in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Santiago, Chile.
“Our UAE expansion is one of our boldest editorial undertakings of recent years and one that builds on our existing newsgathering heritage in the region,” said Tony Maddox, managing director for CNN International, in a statement. “For a global news organization, the Middle East was the logical choice for an investment of this scale. Our new operation in Abu Dhabi will enable us to continue to meet and exceed the demands of our audiences at a time when many of our competitors are having to retrench.”
In addition to the launch of live daily news programming, CNN will also move the production of its popular Middle East-focused feature programs Inside the Middle East and Marketplace Middle East to the new center.