Dubai-based broadcaster MBC Group has expanded its relationship with Freemantle Media, buying the Arab format rights for The X Factor and Project Runway, for three seasons each.
MBC Group also finalised a deal with Freemantle Media to run Arab Idol and the Arabs Got Talent for three further seasons.
Anahita Kheder, SVP, Middle East, Africa and South Eastern Europe, FremantleMedia International said: “We are immensely proud to be the first company to have completed a deal of this magnitude with MBC Group. Together we have already launched the very successful pan-Arab versions of Arabs Got Talent and Arab Idol, both of which were propelled onto the international press stage.
"The Middle East region has evolved a great deal in recent years with audiences wanting something a little special, and with the introduction of The X Factor and Project Runway, MBC will deliver just that. We are enormously excited to continue our partnership with MBC to introduce more future audience favorites to its enormous Middle Eastern reach.”
Ali Jaber, TV director of MBC Group, said: “MBC is always keen on delivering premium content coupled with the best TV productions in the MENA region. With the introduction of global formats, such as Idol and Got Talent, amongst others, a couple of years ago, they soon became top-rated TV shows and have created unprecedented engagement with the audiences on multi-platforms.
“It only makes sense that we renew our contracts with FremantleMedia - thus keeping the momentum of these formats at its peak. We are delighted with this partnership that helps bring the best TV global practices to our region while allowing our own creative teams to excel, deliver and succeed.”
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In 2013, Arab Idol attracted global media interest as singer Mohammed Assaf, a former wedding singer from Gaza, was declared the winner of the second season. The MENA region united as Assaf’s finale performance generated audience shares over five times higher than the broadcaster average. The Idol format, co-owned by FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment, has now been produced in 51 territories worldwide.
Arabs Got Talent’s third season concluded with Syrian dancing troupe, SIMA taking the top spot and once again dominated international headlines. The Arabic version of the format became MBC4’s number one show in both 2012 and 2013 consecutively.
Co-owned by Syco Entertainment and FremantleMedia, the global Got Talent phenomenon officially became the Guinness World Records’ Most Successful Reality TV Format Worldwide in April this year and has now been commissioned in 65 territories worldwide.
The pan-Arab version of The X Factor takes the format to 51 territories worldwide. The Syco Entertainment owned and created format is co-produced/licenced by FremantleMedia worldwide.
Since the launch of The X Factor UK in 2004 the British-born TV show has been watched by more than 360 million people around the world and can be seen in most countries.
The X Factor format has discovered and launched more international break-out artists than any other singing competition show, with more than 160 million record sales by The X Factor artists globally.
Meanwhile, the Arab version of Project Runway will give designers the chance to compete against one another through a series of challenges. The winner will see their collection shown at a major catwalk show and featured in a leading fashion magazine. Project Runway, which is owned by The Weinstein Company, has become the most successful fashion format worldwide having been produced in 23 territories including the US, Australia, Canada, Latin America and the UK.