Television

CNN opens new production centre in the Middle East

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MUMBAI: A pivotal part of CNN's content ownership strategy has come on stream with the launch of a new state-of-the-art production center and newsgathering hub in the heart of the Middle East. This was announced today in Abu Dhabi by CNN International MD, executive VP managing director Tony Maddox.

He was joined for the announcement by Turner Broadcasting System chairman and CEO Phil Kent and by CNN Chief International correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

Maddox says, "The Middle East has played a significant role in CNN's heritage and is part of our DNA, two of our earliest bureaus were in Cairo and Jerusalem. This region unquestionably plays an integral part in world affairs, and the new hub in Abu Dhabi gives us the opportunity to get to the heart of the rich and diverse stories across the political, business, social and cultural spectrums.

"The establishment of a permanent broadcast and production center in the Middle East by CNN is a significant and unique move by a Western news broadcaster. It gives CNN a powerful base from which to coordinate seven regional bureaus and showcase a new daily news show from the Middle East."

The new online and TV production facility sits alongside CNN's existing 32 international newsgathering operations which also includes digital production centers in Hong Kong, London, Mexico City and Atlanta.

Overseen by CNN's managing editor for the Middle East Tom Fenton, CNN Abu Dhabi will also coordinate newsgathering for the seven CNN operations in the region: Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai, Jerusalem, Kabul and Islamabad.

With more than two dozen staff, CNN Abu Dhabi not only consolidates CNN Worldwide's investment in global newsgathering, but it also underlines CNN's growth strategy that includes the commercial launch of the CNN Wire, the unveiling of the new CNN.com and the addition of new prime-time shows across HLN and CNN International.

Built as a fully high definition and online production facility, CNN Abu Dhabi houses a four-camera digital studio with 24/7 live capability, edit suites and fully integrated newsroom.

First Daily News Show From the Region: For the first time in its history, CNN will broadcast a daily live news show from the Middle East. 'Prism', presented by Stan Grant, will air Sunday to Thursday at 12p ET/9p GST. CNN Abu Dhabi will also be the home to CNN's perennially popular feature shows Inside the Middle East, now in its sixth year, and Marketplace Middle East which launched two years ago.

Prism is the 10th new show to be launched on CNN International in the past 12 months. It joins the network's new primetime line-up, uniting Stan Grant, Christiane Amanpour, Richard Quest, Becky Anderson, Fionnuala Sweeney, Michael Holmes and Hala Gorani in a schedule that between them covers off business and current affairs programming, breaking news and behind-the-scenes reportage in distinctive formats.

Content Ownership : CNN's content ownership strategy has provided a wealth of new material for all of CNN's platforms across TV, online, mobile and CNN's commercial wire service, while also allowing that content to be aggregated to affiliates.

Since early 2008 CNN has opened seven new editorial operations across Africa, Asia, Latin America and now the Middle East, as well as placing additional correspondents in many existing operations.

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