Richard Sambrook writing on the BBC editors site says
Together with our radio and internet services in Arabic, it will form part of the first multimedia offer to the Arab world with programming scheduled across all three media - from the web, to radio, to TV.
The Arab world is one of the most important regions of the world. Events there affect all of us in some way, from terrorism and war, to oil prices and trade. It is natural therefore that the World Service should seek to reach as many people as possible with its broadcasts - and today that means being on TV which is now the most used medium for news and information.
The service will be
distinctive for Arab audiences offering an international, not just Arab, perspective on events and an objective approach to issues. It will have the same standards and values as any other BBC service, reporting on the rest of the world as well as the region. In surveys in the region, 85% of those asked said they would watch the BBC channel. We hope some 35 million people will be using the service in 5 years time.
One problem that the service will have as Colin Crummy writes at Press Gazette is its percieved association with the British Government
But critics said the BBC would face scepticism in the region over its impartiality, with its funding of £25m a year coming from a Foreign Office grant-in-aid under particular scrutiny.
Dr Makram Khoury-Machool, a lecturer in media studies at Cambridge University, said the reaction would depend on how much it would be seen as “a mouthpiece for the British Government”.
Chapman said that audiences could make the distinction between what the BBC does and British Government policies, and that the BBC would report “without fear or favour” in the region
This perspective can be backed up by an editorial in Gulf news ( via Adrian Monck.In coming late to the party it asks
What can a British broadcaster do for a region that looks less and less towards the West for quality news programming, and has already found it in its own backyard?
In reality - for the vast majority of Arabs sitting in coffee shops on the streets of Cairo or Beirut - probably not very much