Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- In partnership with the Arab Media Group, MTV Networks International will launch MTV Arabiya from Dubai later this year. Despite the large number of music channels within Arab media, the officials at MTV Arabiya have confidence in their ability to succeed amongst fierce competition.
In an interview with Asharq Al Awsat, the vice chairman of MTV Networks, Bill Roedy said, “No [other] channels have the ability to compete with our prospective channel, considering it is a cultural forum for young people rather than just a music channel as it will broadcast a unique mixture of Arab and international content.”
The interview proceeded as follows:
Q: Do you believe that you have joined the market at a late stage following the launch of many similar channels in the region?
A: We are already present in the region through subscription television with our channel MTV Europe being broadcast on ShowTime Arabia. We have found a suitable partner, the Arab Media Group (AMG), to launch the live broadcast of the channel [MTV Arabiya]. In addition, it is obvious that the region has developed economically, culturally and musically and that makes this stage ideal to launch our channel.
Q: Why did you feel the need to create a partnership with local companies when you decided to launch MTV Arabiya?
A: The most significant factor in creating a successful youthful product is to communicate with the audience, that is, the existence of local talents that help to establish this channel from A to Z according to the local culture and sentiments. We have used this model all over the world. Combining the cultural bonds of the local partners with the marketing expertise on the ground – represented by the global experience of MTV – is the best possible scenario that no other company in the world can match.
Q: What is the added value you offer amongst the fierce competition of musical channels in the region?
A: We do not look at MTV Arabiya as just a musical channel; rather, it will be a forum for youth that reflects all their cultural aspects. For the first time in the region, this channel will offer an opportunity for the youth to express themselves and their opinions through the material we present. In addition, we will shed light on the issues related to them so that they can become active players.
MTV Arabiya will be a blend of local and international contents. We will present different kinds of music from all over the world while concentrating fundamentally on Arab music and culture. In exchange, we may present Arab music and culture on other channels throughout the world. Consequently, we can say that there are no other channels that can boast such an international network, offering excellent opportunities for us to export Arab music and culture to other parts of the world through our channel. Therefore, whilst bringing the rest of the world to the Arab region, we can take the Arab region to the rest of the world.
Q: What are the most prominent shows that you will depend on to attract young Arab individuals?
A: We will announce the details of the shows within the next few months, but what I would like to say is that we will broadcast a combination of international shows that will be selected by our team at MTV Arabiya owing to their cultural reference and these shows will be chosen from our international partners. In addition, we will have local products that Arabize successful international productions as well as new ideas for shows that were developed by the MTV Arabiya team. This range of programs will be presented along with a mixed selection of Arabic music that reflects all tastes in the region, in addition to other types of music from all over that we expect will gain popularity.
Q: Assuming that you have conducted extensive market research on satellite channels in the region, what is your opinion on the nature of these channels?
A: In my opinion, research is an essential part of preparation that we have conducted to launch this channel. We have focused on consumer and audience research to ensure that our shows reflect their culture. Therefore, it is the audience that leads us rather than the market because we believe that we will create something completely new.
Q: With regards to presenters, will MTV Arabiya search for new talent?
A: Initially, we would concentrate on developing our own talents; however, we will look for presenters in the market to best reflect the value of the product presented by MTV Arabiya, whether they are working for the channel or in other places.
Q: What is the expected level of viewership during first year of transmission?
A: We will conduct extensive market research in order to measure the viewers response to what is broadcast. Consequently, it will lead us to review our performance and continuously monitor the response rate to our own means, which would be qualitative rather than quantitative, through concentrating on the opinions and ideas of viewers.