Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) has kicked off the first stage of an extensive revamp with the launch of a new-look Dubai TV, its flagship television channel.

Under the new format, Dubai TV will try to create an identity, supported by a new logo, as the premier pan-Arab family-oriented channel. The focus will be the GCC, particularly the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

As part of its strategy, Dubai TV – set up in 1974 – has also extended the prime time viewing hours from 8pm to 1am Dubai time (7pm to 12 midnight Saudi time), said a top official.

"Other channels have their prime time focus between 10pm and 1am our time," said Hussain Ali Lootah, chief executive officer of DMI.

"Our intensive market research has shown that prime time hours can be brought forward given there is quality content on offer. Content will be the key differentiator of the new Dubai TV.

"Since the incorporation of DMI in July last year, our strategy has been very clear – to provide superior content whilst managing our operations in a commercially successful way.

"General Sheikh Moham-med bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, who is also our Chairman, has been quite clear about this," he said.

Lootah said the changes would also be reflected in advertising rates.

"It is our intention to be a premium channel, and our advertising rates will reflect that. We have had some initial feedback from the advertising industry to the new look, and the response has been uniformly positive."

As part of the changes, Dubai TV has just opened a new news centre at Dubai Media City. News and current affairs programmes will be produced and broadcast from this facility, starting today. The plan is to further build new facilities to house the entire DMI set up at the Media City.

Dubai TV has also invested heavily in a line-up of new lifestyle programmes, again all conceived and produced at its existing facility in Dubai.

Local television professionals will make up the core of the team, including prominent political scientists Dr Abdel Khaleq Abdullah and Dr Mohammed bin Howayden, journalist Dr Aisha Ibrahim Sultan, and analyst Dr Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Naqabi.

The entity has formalised licences with Warner Studios and Disney to provide the latest fare from Hollywood.

Also, in another first, it has commissioned a leading Egyptian studio to provide exclusive series for Dubai TV.

"Each of these moves is designed for us to be the channel of choice for Arab families," Lootah said and added that the revamp will next be reflected on Channel 33.

Change is the key

• New-look Dubai TV – set up in 1974 –to offer 20 hours of quality programmes.

• It has also extended the prime time viewing hours from 8pm to 1am Dubai time.

• DMI moves to consolidate Dubai's status as a media hub.

• Dubai TV has just opened a new news centre at Dubai Media City.

• The DMI portfolio features four television stations, three radio stations and one Arabic language newspaper, Al Bayan.