May 8, 2012 (TradeArabia News Service)
May 8, 2012 (TradeArabia News Service)
There are around 550 free-to-air channels in Mena, and MBC Group ranks on top in terms of viewership in the GCC due to its diverse offering, a report said.
The Arab Media Outlook – 2011 to 2015, which presents an overview of the regional media industry and forecasts its future evolution, shows that the channels belonging to MBC Group are the most prevalent and highest viewed in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Morocco, as the Group channels ranked third in terms of viewership in all of those countries.
MBC Group ranked in the top seven channels in Saudi Arabia. In the UAE, MBC Group ranked in the top four channels as the most viewed; and in the UAE MBC2, MBC Action and MBC1 ranked in the top three among the top 10 list of channels.
MBC4 ranked sixth place while Al Arabiya News channel ranked eighth.
In Morocco, MBC Group achieved the fourth rank within the top 10 list of channels, including MBC4 ranking second, MBC2 ranking fourth, MBC1 ranking sixth and MBC Action ranking 10th. However, in Egypt, MBC2 ranked 10th being the only western premium content channel that overtook other local Egyptian channels that broadcast a similar genre of western content.
The report indicates the ability of MBC Group to spread new content, segmenting it to different audiences.
As for Arabic dramas, the report confirms that more than half of the Saudi population watched the series Tash 18 on MBC1, during Ramadan.
In the same context, regarding the most watched television programs in 2011, the report indicates that MBC1’s talent show ‘Arab Idol’ was the most viewed in Saudi Arabia, with 42 per cent audience share of total population and 50 per cent of the age group 10 to 14 years.
Moreover, the report points out that ‘Arab Idol’ – was considered as the first choice in the UAE for the population ranging from 15 to 24 years old, surpassing political program popularity on other channels during the Arab Spring, and ultimately changing the nature of viewership trends and patterns toward political programs and news.
In the same context, other programs outperformed competitors, such as MBC1’s “Sada Al Malaeb”, deemed as the most watched Sports program in Saudi Arabia, ranking third in Saudi Arabia after MBC1’s Arab Idol and “Kalam Nawaem”.
Furthermore, the report points out that two out of five international Talent-spotting formats were broadcasted on MBC Channels (such as “Arabs Got Talent” on MBC4, and “Arab Idol” on MBC1), indicating an essential viewership trend and shift for the Pan Arab audience.
With regards to acquired western content, the report points out that MBC Group channels have acquired a wide range of content from international studios, primarily in the US, some of which are exclusive (23 per cent), some of which are non-exclusive (12 per cent).
The report suggests that MBC Group affected the acquisition rights for competitors and other broadcasters. While the report also refers to the Group’s internal production units that produce a number of programs which broadcast on the various Group channels.
The report indicates that, despite the crisis faced by the media sector beginning of 2011 during the Arab Spring, and despite not yet recovering from the effects of the global economic and financial crisis, the channels belonging to MBC Group were the least affected compared to other media organizations that witnessed a decline in commercial advertising revenues.
The report added: ‘MBC channels continued to carry out its operations while competitors are suffering from serious internal changes…The Group was able to strengthen its position at the expense of its competitors where the other players suffered from the restructuring of certain internal procedures.’
The report highlights MBC Group’s role within the New Media sector, indicating the new Video-On-Demand (VOD) “shahid.net”, that provides viewers with the ability of a catch-up service. The report explained that the site, which was launched in August of 2011, has received 1.9 million users in January 2012, in addition to 6.6 million visitors and 24 million views.
The report shed further light about MBC Group’s plans to further grow and introduce shahid.net’s offerings onto other platforms soon, including smart phones and interactive TV sets, expecting an increased demand onto multiple platforms in the region, and thereby supporting the digital migration and diversification in the region.