Jim's new mate

We reveal in this week’s issue that the world’s first 3D television channel is to launch, and it is to launch in the Arab world. Arabian Broadcasting Company is the brainchild of Dr.Issam Daoud, head of the Avanti Consulting Group.

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By  Ben Dawson Published  April 2, 2006

|~||~||~|We reveal in this week’s issue that the world’s first 3D television channel is to launch, and it is to launch in the Arab world. Arabian Broadcasting Company is the brainchild of Dr.Issam Daoud, head of the Avanti Consulting Group. But while most of the attention is likely to be focused on this September’s planned launch, I understand that Dr.Daoud is already looking to the future. Last week he met with I-mate boss Jim Morrisson, to discuss equipping i-mate phones with 3D video clips. “It’s early days yet but I think we can do something. Jim is a great visionary and he liked what I showed him,” Dr.Daoud tells me. Watch this space (without 3D glasses) for more news. HAPPY HOLIDAYS After last week’s announcement that Emaar is to invest several billion dollars into Turkey, I understand chairman Mohammed Alabbar simply can’t stand still. Within hours of announcing the deal, his office was finalising details for a trip to Morocco. As I write this, Alabbar is in secret talks with government officials, and plans to announce a number of major Emaar-led projects within the next few weeks. During his absence, he will be glad to hear that Emaar shares rose 3.61%. POOR SHOW As I mentioned some weeks back, there is still no news on exactly when Al Jazeera International – the English news channel – is launching from the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Group. Word reaches me that the planned April launch may be put back a few weeks after more technical hitches. In the meantime, the Al Jazeera wage bill – with the likes of Sir David Frost already on board – is fast rising with no revenues yet. Still, at least the station can celebrate it’s 11th hour deal three weeks ago to secure exclusive right to broadcast Formula One racing on the network. The deal – for all this season’s 18 races – will see Al Jazeera potentially broadcast to 250 million Arabs. The question is, will they bother watching? F1 was until now shown on the ART sports network, and sources there say they were surprised that Al Jazeera came in with a last minute higher bid. An ART executive tells me: “All our research showed that most of the people who watched F1 were Westerners, which is why we took the English commentary. Al Jazeera is only broadcasting in Arabic. And, as such, probably to not very many people.” FLYING LOW Last week saw the official arrival of Morgan Stanley in the GCC. The company unveiled its office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), its first base in the Middle East and North Africa region. Located in the Gate Building, the new office will offer a comprehensive range of services to clients in the region, including investment banking, capital markets, sales and trading, and private wealth management. All sounds very good – and according to John J. Mack, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, it doesn’t get any better. “This is an important milestone for Morgan Stanley and clear evidence of our commitment to developing our presence in the Middle East and North Africa region,” he explained. My sources tell me that wasn’t quite what Mack was thinking during the long flight to Dubai from New York. He was in mid-air just as the Dubai Financial Market reached a 20% drop since the start of the year. He agreed to appear at Morgan Stanley's press conference last week but barely had time to crunch on his custard cream biscuits before dashing off. Mack made clear he wouldn't be saying anothing more. He shouldn't worry too much. Since heading back to New York, the DFM has picked up again. I'm sure this the first of many great ventures in the Middle East for Morgan Stanley.||**||

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