MidEast Sees Strong Growth in Satellite TV

In the Middle East, the number of satellite TV channels has more than doubled over the past three years, according to a report in the Saudi newspaper al-Madina.

TVTechnology.com provides a summary:

Currently 370 Arabic satellite TV networks broadcast to the Middle East; 56 belong to private companies, 54 are music channels and 38 are state owned. Since January 2004, the sector has grown some 270 per cent.

Media researcher ʿYsa Qasusi told al-Madina that about 22 per cent of Arabic satellite networks are based in the United Arab Emirates; 15 per cent are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and 11 per cent are in Egypt.

Among the new networks pushing this incredible growth in satellite TV content: MTV Arabia, which just launched this weekend and features a blend of 60 percent international music and 40 percent Arabic music, with local adaptations of the channel’s popular non-music shows:

By emphasising local music talent and programmes aimed at addressing the concerns Arab youth have, MTV Arabia hopes to set itself apart from the other satellite music channels that saturate the Mideast market.

"We are not only a music channel, we are an entertainment channel where young Arabs will get a voice," programme director Patrick Samaha said. 

The launch of MTV Arabia comes at a time when Dubai is growing as a destination for the international jet set — a trend that MTV Arabia is likely to latch onto. In fact, they’re promoting a big party tonight at Dubai’s Boudoir, the "swanky, wannabe Parisian club [that] ranks as one of the most exclusive venues in the city." According to the MTV Arabia website:

Hip HopNa co-host DJ Fred Wreck. All the way from Hollywood, Wreck has worked with the best in the music bizz including Dr. Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and X-Zibit.

Hip HopNa co-host and Saudi Arabia’s first Hip Hop artist Qusai, AKA Don Legend

Plus the one and only DJ Dany Neville – Dubai’s Hip Hop Guru

The cameras will roll right through the star-studded night so bling yourself up and come prepared. Get there early to make sure you don’t miss the fun. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

If you’re camera-shy or just can’t make it to Dubai, MTV Arabia can be downlinked from Nilesat 101, located at 7° West (transponder 14; 11,997 MHz V, FEC 5/6, SR 27500) and Arabsat BADR 4 at 26° East (transponder 24, 12,169 MHz V, FEC 3/4, SR 27500).  With any luck you’ll catch a few videos of Lebanese superstar Haifa, who has taken the Middle East pop market by storm and is featured performing next to a 1965 Buick Wildcat in the video above.