Saudi TV mulls corporatisation

State broadcaster keen to generate efficiencies and profits.
Dr. Riyadh Najm.
Dr. Riyadh Najm.

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After years of running its TV channels and radio stations in a non-profit manner, Saudi TV is finally considering a business model similar to that followed by Dubai Media Inc. and Abu Dhabi Media Company, where it will continue to be state-backed but operate like a commercial entity.

Dr. Riyadh Najm, assistant deputy minister for Engineering, Ministry of Culture & Information, Saudi Arabia, confirmed that there are ongoing discussions to corporatise the organisation although no concrete plans were laid out yet.

“Nothing is finalised yet. We are still holding talks with key government entities about possibly corporatising Saudi TV,” clarified Dr. Najm.

“We want to run the organisation more efficiently and profitably. Of course, it will continue to be a part of the government and abide by local customs. However, there will be greater efforts to make it profitable. Right now, all the investments for Saudi TV comes from the Ministry of Finance and any revenue generated also goes to the Ministry. There is no co-relation. We must be able to generate revenue and operate profitably.”

Presently, very few advertisements run on Saudi TV channels and there are none on the broadcaster’s radio stations. This is quite ironic given that the Kingdom is one of the largest markets targeted by advertisers in the Middle East.

Dr. Najm added that corporatisation would call for greater accountability from employees in terms of both productivity as well as working towards generating revenue.

More than 95% of the workforce at Saudi TV are Saudi nationals.

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