x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

ADMC launches first pay-TV channel

Abu Dhabi Media Company will launch its first pay-TV channel at the start of next month, company executives announce.

Mohamed Najeeb, front left, the head of Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya Channels, signs a deal with Yousuf Abdullah, the general secretary of the UAE Football Association.  Looking on are Mohamed Khalaf al Mazrouei (rear, centre), the chairman of ADMC, and Karim Sarkis (rear, second from right), the executive director of broadcast at ADMC.
Mohamed Najeeb, front left, the head of Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya Channels, signs a deal with Yousuf Abdullah, the general secretary of the UAE Football Association. Looking on are Mohamed Khalaf al Mazrouei (rear, centre), the chairman of ADMC, and Karim Sarkis (rear, second from right), the executive director of broadcast at ADMC.

Abu Dhabi Media Company will launch its first pay-TV channel at the start of next month, company executives have announced. The channel, Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya 3, will be available as part of the sports package offered by the Arab Radio and Television Network (ART). "It will open the horizons to cover championships and world events, such as the [football] World Cup," said Mohamed Najeeb, the head of Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya Channels, the sports arm of ADMC's television division. In addition to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the channel plans to broadcast the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt next month and the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria, which starts in late October. Both of these FIFA tournaments will feature UAE teams. ADMC, the publisher of The National, this week also signed a contract with the UAE Football Association for the exclusive rights to broadcast the UAE President's Cup and UAE national team matches. "We are doing this to show we are not only interested in broadcasting the international leagues, but also to push forward the game of football in the UAE," Mr Najeeb said. Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya 1 covers sport from across the Arab world, as well as international events that take place in the region, such as the forthcoming Formula One grand prix at Yas Island. Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya 2 focuses mainly on football, including the Saudi Professional League, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup of Champions, the Arab Champions League, the Copa Libertadores de America, and the Brazilian, French and Scottish leagues. Starting next month, Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya 1 will be dedicated to covering the domestic UAE Pro League, while Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya 2 will focus on the Saudi league, to which the company has had the broadcast rights for two seasons. In total, Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya channels will kick off with 17 new programmes covering various sports. The line-up will include Khat Al Sittah, focusing on Saudi football and presented by Mr Najeeb, and Al-Madar, which will carry daily sports news from across the Arab region. Mr Najeeb pointed to ADMC's recent purchase of the rights to broadcast the English Premier League for three years from 2010 as an example of how far the sports channels had come; in the early days, programmes were broadcast from a hotel lobby. Last year Abu Dhabi TV relaunched its sports channels as Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya 1 and 2. "We have been planning for two years to be able to cover the Barclays [English] Premier League," he said. Karim Sarkis, the executive director of broadcast at ADMC, said part of the logic behind the new, encrypted channel was to get viewers used to the idea of paying for premium Abu Dhabi TV sports programming, which previously has been free-to-air. khagey@thenational.ae