CNN unveils state-of-the-art Abu Dhabi hub

Redesigned studio cements key network role

Abu Dhabi, 18 April 2016. CNN has unveiled new state-of-the-art broadcasting facilities at its redesigned Middle Eastern hub in Abu Dhabi.

The network has completely reconfigured its studio, which is home to CNN’s flagship current affairs programme, Connect the World with Becky Anderson.  The facility now features the very latest HD broadcasting equipment and a re-imagined space that opens up a range of new possibilities for news, programming and community initiatives.

CNN hosted a VIP event to mark the new studio's inaugural‎ broadcast. HE Noura Al Kaabi - Minister of FNC affairs and Chairwoman of MZA, HE Shaikha Lubna AlQasimi - Minister of Tolerance, ‎HE KHalifa AlMansouri - Acting Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, ‎HE Mohamed AlMahmoud - Chairman of Abu Dhabi Media, a‎nd many other Senior Government representatives were in attendance.

Becky Anderson, Managing Editor at CNN Abu Dhabi, said: “There are two parts to this project: we’ve integrated the latest HD cameras and equipment, touchscreens, lighting and a quite stunning LED wall into the main studio space, which create a completely fresh look and feel on air.  On top of that, we’ve reconfigured our rooftop space, giving us new scope for our show teams to get creative.  The overall result is a versatile, hi-tech hub that is the perfect base for our Middle Eastern operation.”

The redesigned rooftop space will also play host to a new initiative that will bring CNN even closer to the Abu Dhabi community.  The coming months will see the launch of The Rooftop Sessions @ CNN, which will bring together some of the UAE’s best creative minds, artists and thought leaders to perform, discuss and engage with the CNN family.

Rani Raad, President, CNNI Commercial, said: “Since we opened this facility in 2009 we have seen Abu Dhabi grow in importance, and we have grown with it.  This new investment in Abu Dhabi underlines CNN’s commitment to what has become a truly global hub for culture and business.  This bureau is part of that story, and I’m immensely proud of our partnership with twofour54 and grateful to the many people in Abu Dhabi who have played a part in its success.”

‎Maryam Al Mheiri – Acting CEO of Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi and twofour54,‎ said: “We’re celebrating a partnership that’s changing the face of media in the Middle East. Since CNN established its fourth broadcast hub here in Abu Dhabi, it has shared stories of our society and culture with the entire world.  Abu Dhabi has been welcomed into living rooms globally every weekday for the past six years; that’s around 5000 hours of editorial coverage, with a value in excess of US$820 million.”

The bureau will also now offer fresh opportunities for CNN’s well established internship programme, which has seen around 50 young people from Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the wider region learn new skills and receive training and mentoring from CNN.  In 2015 CNN also held its first Journalism Day, which saw 50 UAE-based students from Zayed University, the American University Sharjah and the American Community School visit the bureau.

Al Mheiri added: "This partnership has also always been about fostering Abu Dhabi’s media community, and CNN’s successful internship scheme has helped nurture so many young people’s careers.  This is a strong and multi-faceted, long term strategic partnership for the Media Zone Authority and Abu Dhabi.”

Anderson added: “We have seen so many fantastically talented young journalists blossom here as part of our internship programme and other initiatives.  This new space will offer our interns experience with the very latest broadcasting equipment, and help us play an even greater role in the community here.”