MBC planning local content for Iraq, Egypt, Africa

Dubai broadcaster says it will launch three new frequencies in MidEast
 Dubai broadcaster says it will launch three new frequencies across Arab world.
Dubai broadcaster says it will launch three new frequencies across Arab world.

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Dubai-based TV network MBC is planning on launching localised content for Iraq, Egypt and North Africa as part of a major revamp at the satellite broadcaster, a senior executive has revealed.

Formally known as the Middle East Broadcasting Centre Group, the firm will split the transmissions to include MBC Iraq, MBC Egypt and MBC North Africa towards the end of this year, the general manager of the firm’s Al-Arabiya News Channel revealed.

“MBC is right now talking about having split transmissions to different locations around the region after the new landscape,” Abdulrahman Al Rashed told DPME.com sister publication Arabian Business.

“MBC will have MBC North Africa, MBC Iraq and MBC Egypt as well. They are right now still in the planning stage, but the chairman has committed to a big investment.

“It should happen some time this year, if not next year.”

The company is likely to add more regional frequencies in the future, Al Rashed said, to go alongside the planned three.

Launched in London in 1991, MBC was the first privately-held, free-to-air satellite broadcasting company in the Arab world.
In 2002, it moved its headquarters to Dubai, and has since made several steps towards increasing its footprint across the region.

It currently has ten television channels broadcasting a range of news and family entertainment, as well as two radio stations and three news websites.

MBC recently launched its second news channel Al-Arabiya Al Hadath, in a bid to boost the number of television programmes available.

In November last year, the company also tied up with Abu Dhabi-based YahLive to screen seven of its channels in high definition via free-to-air satellite. The channels included MBC 1, MBC 2, MBC 4; MBC Action; MBC Drama; MBC MAX; and Al Arabiya News Channel.

Rashed said the company would not be launching any additional TV channels or radio stations in the near future, given the high number of existing options and limitations with regards to licenses.

“We already have ten channels, I don’t think you can go beyond that,” he said.

“For radio we are not planning much really, we already have our two radio stations and its working very well. We are also still restricted by licenses and licenses are given by government.”

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