Coming together in a partnership that brings well known animated properties further across the globe, MTV Networks International (MTVNI) and the Arab Media Group are working on launching the first 24-hour Arabic-language free-to-air cable channel for a global children's media brand: Nickelodeon Arabia. Capitalizing on international audiences as well as previously mined media resources, the formation of Nickelodeon Arabia will provide children in additional territories to experience quality television animation, among other programming. The Arab Media Group is the largest media group in the United Arab Emirates.
Nickelodeon Arabia is scheduled to go live in 2008 and as a result be accessible to some 36 million TV households. With a focus on retaining as much regional cultural as possible, Nick Arabia will also include local programming ventures, sure to resonate with an audience that some sources report could float as high as 200 million persons, sixty percent of which are under the age of thirty. Areas covered by the launch of this new satellite television network include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.
"Adding the voices of Arab children to our worldwide Nickelodeon family is a significant milestone in our history, and advances our ambitious strategy to build a portfolio of integrated kids businesses across the region," Bill Roedy, MTV Networks vice chairman, commented to sources. "The Middle East is a dynamic, thriving market with vast growth opportunities, and we look forward to launching even more MTVNI brands and businesses."
The announcement and subsequent launch of Nickelodeon Arabia comes in addition to well published notes regarding the international children's brand's scheduled plans to help open a theme park in Dubai by 2011, which is reportedly budgeted at USD $1.03 billion. Nickelodeon properties are anticipated to make appearances at other, United Arab Emirates theme parks in the years leading up to the Dubai launch.
"We are really proud to announce our continued partnership with TECOM Investments and its media arm, Arab Media Group, to make the Nickelodeon brand available to kids across the Middle East and the Gulf," Bhavneet Singh, managing director and senior vice president, Emerging Markets Group at MTVNI, commented in a statement. "The launch of Nickelodeon Arabia is a part of our wider, ongoing multi-platform strategy encompassing consumer products, digital media, hotels and theme parks, which we hope will establish Nickelodeon as the premier destination for kids in the region."
Programming will include a mix of international content from Nickelodeon's extensive global portfolio and original local Arabic productions. The channel will be supported by an Arabic website that will provide users with a comprehensive online community and a wide range of interactive elements.
(Sources: Variety online, AWN.com, KidScreen Magazine online, Animation Magazine)