Atlanta-based Cable News Network (CNN International) has re-launched its Arabic website yesterday, CNNArabic.com, after the portal marked its 12th anniversary. The new website includes a range of new features, some of which are not yet adopted by other Arabic sites in the region, according to Peter Bale, VP and General Manager of CNN Digital International. Among the new features is the “responsive” design, which allows users to browse the site across all platforms without the need to download a specific application.
The GCC is one of the fastest-growing mobile Internet markets in the world, with more than 198 million SIM cards registered.
The new design was based on a comprehensive survey launched by the network – says Caroline Faraj, CNN Arabic Digital Services Director – whereby respondents gave their feedback regarding layout ideas. Bigger font and more visuals were among the top criteria cited, which the network incorporated into its new design.
Bale says the website’s traffic has gone up by 70 per cent in 2013 compared to the previous year. CNN Arabic’s main users come from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, followed by the UAE and the US.
“The project to redesign the website has been in the works for more than a year now and it stems from the need to address the growing mobile [market] in the region. The new design will also help attract younger demographics to its social and visual features,” says Bale. He wouldn’t, however, comment on specific traffic numbers or unique website visitors.
In addition to the CNN Arabic operation based in Dubai, CNN’s presence in the region includes its broadcast and production centre, CNN Abu Dhabi. Its wide programming remit from the region includes the feature shows Inside the Middle East, CNN Marketplace Middle East, the newly launched One Square Meter and the nightly Global Exchange programme.
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