Pan-Arab broadcasters losing audience to national sports and movie channels?

Posted: 01 Apr 2010   Print   Send a link
"Pan-Arab channels seem to have given up their place as the most viewed TV channels to national (local) channels. In parallel, news channels seem to have lost their former glamor, unable to compete against the ever-increasing number of sports and movie channels. Channels such as Qatar’s Al Jazeera and Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya no longer influence Arab audiences in the way they did until two years ago." Mourad Haroutunian, Arab Media & Society, Spring 2010.
     "(Un)Civil War of Words [2007 book by Mamoun Fandy] attempts to locate the Arab media, particularly the Arabic-language satellite news stations Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, within the region’s broader political, social, and historical context. ... The final two chapters turn to how the United States can best use Arab media to promote its own interests and how Arab media reform might affect reforming Arab society in general, focusing on the American-sponsored Al-Hurra network and its failed (in his estimation) attempt to provide a pro-American counterweight to Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya." Reviewed by Aaron Wenner, Arab Media & Society, Spring 2010.
     "In the Arab region, there are 470 channels peddling fortune-tellers, alternative medicines, Jihadi ideas, titillating bodies, stock-market schemes, and more mainstream news and entertainment'. Yet as Marwan Kraidy and Joe Khalil, US-based academics, point out, English-language coverage of Arab TV is largely fixated on just the one: Al Jazeera. Their book, Arab Television Industries, aims to both broaden and deepen this view by examining the wide range of broadcasts now available to more than 260 million Arab viewers with the means to turn on and tune in." Reviewed by Shereen El Feki, Arab Media & Society, Spring 2010.
     "CNBC has launched a television station in Arabic, CNBC Arabiya, wholly devoted to financial reporting. ... CNN launched a program called Marketplace Middle East, focusing solely on the economies of the region. The Middle East had ceased to become a region that only produces news about wars and conflicts. This time, however, Arab media organizations didn't stand idly by. Al Arabiya, the Dubai-based television owned by Saudi Arabia's MBC Group, launched a daily program called 'The Arab Markets' in 2005, just two years after it went on air. For the program, the station recruited a group of anchorwomen, most of them with MBAs and experience in international banks." Alaa Shahine, Arab Media & Society, Spring 2010.
     "Despite the spectacular success of Arabic musalsalat (soap operas), Arab audiences have always shown great interest in foreign productions. Within this context Turkish soap operas, Noor being the most significant case, have generated a media revolution." Alexandra Buccianti, Arab Media & Society, Spring 2010.
     "[I]t’s no surprise that secular terrestrial and satellite channels in the region, from Dream TV to Future TV, are producing and airing ever more Islamic programs, with viewership figures and subsequent advertiser interest peaking during Ramadan. ... The inspiration for religious programming on mainstream channels can be traced back to the popularity of Islamic channels in the region. The region’s first Islamic satellite channel, Iqra, was launched in 1998 by Jeddah-based Arabic Television and Radio (ART). Although its programs are in Arabic, English subtitles on a show like that of the immensely popular preacher Amr Khaled expanded its reach to non-Arab viewers." Farrukh Naeem, Kippreport, 31 March 2010.