Russia Today makes Middle East headway

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 20 February 2015

Russia Today's Arabic language channel claims to be one of the top three most viewed news channels in six Middle East countries, according to a Nielsen survey.

Some 18% of residents in Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE and Iraq have watched Russia Today (RT) at least once, adding up to 18.2 million people. Around 11.5 million of these (11%) are estimated to have watched the channel during the previous month.

Of the countries surveyed, Iraq is the spot where RT is most regularly watched, with around 44% of the country's population watching the Russian news channel on a daily basis.

Compared to Nielsen's 2010 study, RT's monthly audience has grown by 2.18 million people across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE.

The study deduced that 30% of RT Arabic's monthly audience in Egypt like the channel for its "relevant and reliable news reports," while 20% in the UAE and 14% in Saudi Arabia like it for its "alternative opinions," and being "distinct from other networks."

RT's monthly viewership in Egypt has witnessed the largest growth, increasing by 112% and, the broadcaster claims, surpassing the growth exhibited by Arabic TV news competitors Al Hurra, Al Alam News, Al Arabiya, and Al Jazeera over the same period.