Spreading its reach in MENA and beyond
Middle East Broadcasting Centre know as MBC Group, is at the very forefront of the industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The region’s largest multi-media company is home to 18 flagship satellite television channels, digital and online offerings and premium content production from general family entertainment to Hollywood blockbusters and 24-hour news to premium local productions. MBC reaches nearly 140 million viewers every day across the MENA region, both through its satellite television channels and online through SHAHID its video-on-demand (VOD) platform. Now, MBC Group is ambitiously pursuing plans to further enhance its offerings as well as its scale and reach.
Launched in 1991, MBC1 was the first privately-owned, independent Arabic satellite TV station, providing 24-hour television broadcasting across the Arab world. After three successful years, the company expanded into radio.
Established initially in London, UK, it moved its headquarters to the Dubai Media City in the UAE in 2002. In addition to its main channel offering, MBC Group was quick to respond to the growing demand for high definition (HD) in the MENA.
Digital expansion has also been pivotal in the Group’s growth with the creation of several online platforms, including the Arab world’s first free video-on-demand (VOD) and catch-up portal Shahid.net, as well as several websites and digital apps.
Five-year Growth and Expansion Plan (2019-2024)
MBC Group has entered into an ambitious five-year growth and expansion plan, spearheaded by its chairman Waleed Al-Ibrahim, focusing on enhancing first-rate content offerings tailored to the Saudi Arabian, Iraqi, wider Middle Eastern and other audiences around the world. The following key launches and initiatives are clear evidence of the scope of ambition.
MBC Studios: In September 2018, MBC Group announced the launch of a brand-new subsidiary, MBC Studios, with the vision to build on the expertise of the Group’s production assets. With rising demand for non-English content in the MENA region, MBC Studios will be tapping into the underdeveloped market, with the mission to producing the region’s most compelling stories for cinema, television and on-demand platforms.
MBC IRAQ: In February 2019, the Group announced the launch of MBC IRAQ, a premium channel aimed at the entire Iraqi family. It forms part of the company’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with Iraqi audiences. Programmes focus on localised Iraqi productions in drama, comedy and socio-cultural premium entertainment shows.
SHAHID: At the core of MBC Group’s five-year strategy is its immense intention for VOD platforms – SHAHID and SHAHID PLUS that will see a whole host of new offerings and initiatives, including ‘SHAHID Originals’, as well as global content acquisitions. In addition to providing first-class programming and content, significant investment is currently being made in product and technology enhancements. This ensures that the group’s ever-growing audience in the MENA region have access to best-in-class technology, where the viewer can always expect an intuitive and user-oriented experience.
China Agreement: As part of the Group’s efforts to expand beyond the Arab-speaking markets, a strategic agreement was made in November 2018 with China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA). The new collaboration will involve sharing expertise in TV and film production, showing dubbed programming to both audiences, as well as skill sharpening through joint seminars, courses and training programmes.
Committed to providing its audiences and the public with the very best in Arabic and global premium content, MBC Group has been the leading power-house of media in the MENA region for decades. With its recent collaboration and expansion plans, it appears that the best is yet to come for audiences in the MENA region and beyond.