Saudi media group SRMG inks deal to launch ‘Bloomberg Al Arabiya’ network

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Prince Bader bin Abdallah bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al Saud (L) with Mr. Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P. and former mayor of New York City at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York. (AN photo)
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Dr. Ghassan Alshibl, MD and CEO of SRMG (R) signing the Agreement with Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media in Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. (AN photo)
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Dr. Ghassan Alshibl, Managing Director and CEO, SRMG (first right) Justin B Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media (first left), John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg (second left) and Mr. Abdulrahman Alruwaita, Chairman of the Executive Committee, SRMG. (AN photo)
Updated 21 September 2017

Saudi media group SRMG inks deal to launch ‘Bloomberg Al Arabiya’ network

RIYADH: Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) today said it has entered a long-term agreement with US-headquartered media firm Bloomberg to launch a multi-platform Arabic-language business and financial news service.
SRMG — publisher of Asharq Al-Awsat, Arab News and Aleqtisadiah — plans a 24-hour television and radio network and dedicated digital platform under the “Bloomberg Al-Arabiya” brand.
It will also publish “Bloomberg Businessweek” magazine in Arabic and launch a new conference and live events series, according to a statement from the company.
The Bloomberg Al-Arabiya platforms will provide Arabic-speaking audiences around the world with news and analysis on the companies, markets, economies and politics shaping the Middle East, the statement said.
Prince Bader bin Abdullah Al-Saud, chairman of SRMG, said the deal would give a boost to the regional media industry.
“We are very pleased with this promising partnership with Bloomberg. In addition to the many business opportunities this collaboration brings, we believe the partnership will greatly enhance the media landscape in our region,” he said.
“This is an exciting development for SRMG and a strong progression in our quest to offer the highest quality financial and business journalism from, and about the Middle East.”
Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg and former mayor of New York City, said, “The Middle East is an important, economically diverse region and our agreement with SRMG allows us to deliver the sharpest global business and financial insights to a critical audience of business decision makers.”
Headquartered in the Gulf, the Bloomberg Al Arabiya team will be managed by SRMG with support from Bloomberg, and will draw on its financial and economic content and data as well as its 2,700 reporters and analysts globally.
“Our partnership with SRMG is a significant milestone in our regional growth story, building on the introduction of an expanded suite of new media platforms in the Middle East last year,” said Justin B. Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group. “This agreement is an integral part of our strategy of forming partnerships with leading news providers in markets that have a compelling economic growth story, as we look to further expand our localized international presence.”
Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, managing director and CEO of SRMG, said: “As one of the biggest media publishing houses in the Middle East, this partnership between SRMG and Bloomberg will see us expand into the international television business. With the new era of business and economic transformation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, such a significant agreement between two leading brands will pave the way for a multi-platform ecosystem of specialized business and financial content of international standards. This is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of media and publishing in the region.”
Bloomberg editor in chief John Micklethwait said: “Bloomberg Al Arabiya will enable us to build on more than 20 years of newsgathering across the Arab world to deliver the best of Bloomberg’s news, insight and analysis.”


US judge blocks Commerce Department order to remove WeChat from app stores

Updated 21 September 2020

US judge blocks Commerce Department order to remove WeChat from app stores

  • WeChat has had an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States, analytics firms Apptopia says

WASHINGTON: A US judge on Sunday blocked the Commerce Department from requiring Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to remove Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat for downloads by late Sunday.

US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco said in an order that WeChat users who filed a lawsuit “have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs’ favor.”

On Friday, the Commerce Department had issued a order citing national security grounds to block the app from US app stores owned by Tencent Holding’s and the Justice Department had urged Beeler not to block the order.

Beeler’s preliminary injunction also blocked the Commerce order that would have barred other transactions with WeChat in the United States that could have degraded the site’s usability for current US users. The US Commerce Department did not immediately comment.

WeChat has had an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States, analytics firms Apptopia said in early August. It is popular among Chinese students, Americans living in China and some Americans who have personal or business relationships in China.

The Justice Department said blocking the order would “frustrate and displace the president’s determination of how best to address threats to national security.” But Beeler said “while the general evidence about the threat to national security related to China (regarding technology and mobile technology) is considerable, the specific evidence about WeChat is modest.”

She added “The regulation — which eliminates a channel of communication without any apparent substitutes — burdens substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government’s significant interest.”

WeChat is an all-in-one mobile app that combines services similar to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Venmo. The app is an essential part of daily life for many in China and boasts more than 1 billion users.

The WeChat Users Alliance that had sued praised the ruling “as an important and hard-fought victory” for “millions of WeChat users in the US.”

Michael Bien, a lawyer for the users, said “the United States has never shut down a major platform for communications, not even during war times. There are serious First Amendment problems with the WeChat ban, which targets the Chinese American community.”