Al Jazeera Arabic launches on UK's Freeview

Rebecca Hawkes | 16-01-2014

Freeview has added the Arabic news channel Al Jazeera to its UK free-to-air bouquet, marking the first time a non-English language channel has been carried on the digital terrestrial (DTT) service.

From 16 January, Al Jazeera Arabic has become available to households with a Freeview high definition (HD) set-top box or Freeview HD TV, despite currently broadcasting in standard definition (SD). It will, however, be carried on Arqiva's new DTT multiplexes, bringing a potential reach of 3.2 million Freeview HD households come June 2014.

The Qatar-based satellite broadcaster's English language news service, Al Jazeera English, was launched in SD and HD on Freeview in November 2013.

"We believe that there is a growing demand by audiences that understand Arabic in the UK for in-depth analysis and reporting, which we have bringing to our viewers for the past 17 years. The inclusion of Al Jazeera Arabic on Freeview has doubled its access to viewers in the UK market, which is a necessary step forward for our global presence," said Dr Mostefa Souag, acting director general, Al Jazeera Media Network.

Guy North, marketing communications director, Freeview, added: "The addition of Al Jazeera Arabic extends the global news perspective available on Freeview and brings viewers even more subscription-free news content."

Al Jazeera's Arabic and English news channels have been available on Virgin Media in the UK since March 2013.