x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Al Jazeera to air Children's Channel in English

International versions of the JCC station in English and Arabic will be available by the end of next year, the TV company says.

The Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) plans to launch an English-language station for broadcast outside the Arab world.

International versions of the station in English and Arabic will be available by the end of next year, said Mahmoud Bouneb, the executive general manager of JCC.

"We have an ambition to create an international feed for JCC that will benefit other markets, [such as] Asia and North America," said Mr Bouneb.

JCC, which is majority-owned by the Qatar Foundation, also broadcasts a pre-school station called Baraem TV. The Arabic-language stations are available via the Arabsat, Nilesat and Hot Bird satellites across the Middle East and parts of Europe.

The Qatar Foundation owns a 90 per cent stake in JCC, with the news broadcaster Al Jazeera holding a small stake. The Qatar Foundation owns 100 per cent of Baraem TV.

An international feed is intended to use content from JCC and Baraem TV in Arabic and English, Mr Bouneb said.

"We are thinking probably by the end of 2012 because it takes a long time to prepare and to penetrate the market . we have so many requests from Asian countries to bring Al Jazeera [Children's Channel] in Arabic and to be dubbed in English," he said.

Mr Bouneb said he did not envisage problems distributing the channel in North America, as were faced by the Al Jazeera news station.

"North America is very important for the Arabic-speaking community, at least east coast and west coast," he said.

"It is essential our international feed will cover North America. I don't think we will face the issues related to the distribution of Al Jazeera."

The English-language version would mean greater content acquisition costs, Mr Bouneb said.

"If we add the English, probably we have to pay three or four times more to acquire content. But I think it's worth it to try."

Revenues of the channel do not cover the funding expenses, said Mr Bouneb. "Qatar Foundation is investing around US$110 million [Dh404m] to $120m a year," he said. "If you think return on investment, that would be close to mission impossible.

"Probably in the next five years we will try to make the public burden of funding such channels and such activity a little less heavy for our funders."