MTV tunes Arabic-language channel


Boasting a potential audience of about 190 million young people across the Middle East, MTV on Monday unveiled MTV Arabia, which will feature a 60%-40% mix of international and Arabic music videos.

MTV Arabia, billed as the region's first Arabic free-to-air youth entertainment and lifestyle channel, goes on the air Nov. 17 and will showcase the region's latest trends in youth entertainment. The channel will feature a mix of music and lifestyle shows that include Arabic productions and such MTV series as "Cribs," "Pimp My Ride" and "Total Request Live."

MTV Arabia is operated through a long-term licensing partnership between MTV Networks International and TECOM Investments and its media unit, Arab Media Group. The channel will fall under the umbrella of Arabian Television Network, AMG's TV broadcasting arm that also will incorporate three other stations to launch before year's end2007.

"MTV is the first global brand to launch a fully localized, Arabic-language entertainment service in the Middle East that truly represents Arab youth while being respectful of their rich and diverse culture," said Bhavneet Singh, managing director and senior vp emerging markets at MTV Networks International.

Bill Roedy, vice chairman of MTV Networks, said: "Through MTV's global platform that reaches nearly 2 billion people, Arabic music and culture can be exported to new audiences -- giving Arabs a bigger voice and greatly enriching the diversity of our MTV creative culture. MTV Arabia is only the beginning of our ambitious plans for growth in the Middle East, and we're excited to launch further Arabic services, including Nickelodeon next year."

Added Abdullatif al Sayegh, CEO of Arab Media Group: "Understanding the next generation is a key priority for AMG. Through our network, we now have more platforms to talk to our youth and in ways that have never been done before in the Middle East."