Sky News Arabia introducing ‘region’s first VR news studio’

The studio set for Sky News Arabia’s new show “Timeline” uses virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. (Supplied)
Updated 27 April 2019

Sky News Arabia introducing ‘region’s first VR news studio’

  • Three new shows will be launched using the new state-of-the-art technologies
  • A new dedicated documentary unit will also be launched

ABU DHABI: Sky News Arabia is introducing studios that use the latest in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology for the first time in the region, the Abu Dhabi-based news channel said on Saturday.
The move is part of a series of enhancements to the station, which also includes new programs and presenters and a “digital-first” approach to content creation.
Three new shows will be launched using the new state-of-the-art technologies including a daily sport show live from the AR set.
A new dedicated documentary unit will also be launched to offer viewers more investigative stories from around the region.
“No matter when you tune into Sky News Arabia, you will find high-quality news output and in-depth reporting that is relevant to your life and the issues you care about most,” said Hani Abuayyash, Sky News Arabia’s head of news.
“These changes will help to bring the news to life, making our content more visually compelling and reflective of the fact that our viewers are increasingly consuming news online and want more live news coverage as it happens.”
The new programming includes “News Radar” at 6 p.m., which will feature analysis and discussion of the latest world news. An enhanced version of “Timeline” at midnight will see new host Carolina Nassar present a review of the day’s news using the latest VR technologies.


Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

Updated 24 February 2020

Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

  • MBC Group to support young film makers with training from industry professionals

LONDON: Young Arab film makers will have the opportunity to have their work showcased at next month’s Red Sea International Film Festival as investment in Saudi cinema gathers pace.

The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced a partnership with MBC Group, which will also broadcast the event’s opening ceremony on March 12.

As part of the deal, MBC Al Amal, MBC’s corporate social responsibility arm, will hold a Shorts pitch competition.

Ten short film projects will be selected from Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, with filmmakers being given a one-day workshop to prepare for a pitching session. 

Italian director and producer Stefano Tealdi will train the candidates to strengthen their skills and give them tips for better pitches, MBC said.

“We strongly believe that this new generation of talent is key in influencing change and creating the difference to the region’s media and entertainment content landscape, which of course includes independent film and mainstream cinema,” said Peter Smith, managing director of MBC Studios.

The region’s biggest broadcaster will also host talent days on March 17 and 18 to support Saudi scriptwriters, directors and producers.

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival takes place March 12-21 in Jeddah Old Town, under the theme “Changing the Script.” It aims to support and help grow Saudi Arabia’s emerging film industry which is attracting a slew of investment from homegrown dramas shot in the Kingdom to the construction of cinemas countrywide.

Real estate broker CBRE estimates that 45 new cinemas are expected to open this year.

The boom in cinema construction coincides with a push to develop the domestic Saudi film industry.

That is being driven by both the big and small screen as video-on-demand players that include MBC, Netflix and Amazon compete to deliver content that speaks to a young Arab audience.