Construction of a studio complex in Sky News Arabia’s Abu Dhabi headquarters has begun, as part of the preparations for the spring 2012 launch of the 24 hour Arabic language news channel.

The channel, based at the twofour54 Intaj media hub, will be housed in a three four facility incorporating a multimedia newsroom, edit suites, live graphics production and an operations centre to manage the 13 international bureaux which will inform Sky News Arabia.

"Sky News Arabia's studios will offer state of the art facilities. Our team will enjoy the most advanced infrastructure available within the industry to ensure world-class news delivery to all our viewers across the MENA region," said Nart Bouran, director of news, Sky News Arabia.

TSL has been appointed as technical systems integrator to fit out the broadcast complex, and further contract awards are expected soon in order that the channel becomes the multi-platform operation it aims to be, catering simultaneously for television, mobile and internet audiences.

A 50:50 joint venture between BskyB and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed’s private investment company Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation, Sky News Arabia is expected to comprise 180 multimedia journalists, as well as employing a technical and operations team and advertising executives.

When launched, the new Arabic language news channel will be transmitted in both high definition and standard definition free-to-air across the Middle East and Africa. It will also be available in the UK on the Sky satellite platform.

Sky News Arabia will, when live, go head to head with the Arab world’s dominant satellite news broadcasters, Al Jazeera of Qatar and MBC’s Al Arabiya; as well as a proliferation of international services in Arabic, such as BBC Arabic, France 24, Russiya Al Yaum, Iran’s Al Alam, CCTV from China, and Al Hurra from the US.