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Dubai Business Channel ups the ante

Stephen Marney joins Dubai Business Channel as director of news & program devvelopment. His brief is to dramatically increase the channel's reach and viewership.

A new man has arrived at the Dubai Business Channel charged with taking the station forward into its next phase of development. Stephen Marney, who takes up the post of director of news & program development, lists an impressive CV that includes stints at MBC, Sky and Reuters.

His view is that the station has developed some strong programming in its 12 months on air, but that it just needs to get out there and start shouting about it. He says the number one objective now is to make sure more people know about the channel and have the chance to watch it.

“It’s been on air now for 12 months, it’s developed some good products, but few people know how to tune in and few people know what they’re going to get out of the product,” says Marney. “Bringing me in is a twofold thing. One is to whip into shape the corporate side of things and the other is to develop new programmes and promote them to a viewership throughout the world.”

A number of initiatives are afoot to increase the channel’s appeal and bring viewers on board. In what will be a multi-phase plan, Marney’s first goal is to raise the channel’s profile in Dubai and the Emirates.

A public relations company has been signed up and Marney says a, “very aggressive marketing campaign” will follow. That campaign will promote not only the Business Channel as a brand but also the station’s personnel, whom Marney describes as, “experts in their specific field.”

Jumeirah International has already signed up to show the free-to-air station in its hotel properties, a deal Marney sees as a win-win and aims to repeat throughout the region. “For us to be in their hotels seemed a logical step to them, given that their remit is to attract businesspeople,” he says. “I will be attempting to do the same thing with other hotels, not just here in Dubai or the Emirates but across the Middle East.”

The channel aims to be running 24 hours a day within 12 months, and a market survey is being carried out to find out what business viewers want to watch. A key goal is to discover what type of Arabic programming should be offered and when. A possibility may be splitting the station into separate Arabic and English channels.

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