Friday, MTV unveiled an Arabic language music video channel.
MTV Arabia now provides Arabic music videos, as well as other MTV programs, to Middle Eastern audiences. The channel is a little late though; there is already much competition in the market for Arabic language music videos. According the BBC, there are over 50 Arabic music video stations in the region.
MTV Arabia is a joint venture between Viacom (which owns MTV), and Arab Media Group. The channel, which will have offices in Dubai and Cairo, will be airing not only MTV shows, but locally produced Arabic content as well. One flagship program, Hip HopNa, will feature a regionally famous Saudi rapper and the Palestinian rapper, FredWreck, who has worked with artists including Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent. Music videos from the West will also be a prominent fixture for the channel. Approximately 40% of the videos shown will be from either the U.S. or Europe.
Surprisingly, at least for Americans, one major projected revenue source, possibly even more important than advertising, is SMS revenue. According to Variety, there is more than one mobile line for every person in the UAE. Cell phone penetration is similarly high throughout the region, particularly for younger people, the very audience MTV Arabia is vying for.
No new, Arabic language, Pimp My Ride has been announced. But this writer is hopeful that a local Pimp My Ride will come to fruition. What Egyptian Peugeot or Kuwaiti Bentley doesn't need a little pimping?
Check out MTV Arabia here .
Middle Eastern Innovations Writer