MBC Group CJSC
Native name
مجموعة إم بي سي
FormerlyMiddle East Broadcasting Center (1991-2003)
Company typePublic
Tadawul4072
Founded18 September 1991; 32 years ago (1991-09-18)
HeadquartersRiyadh, Saudi Arabia
Area served
Middle East and North Africa
Key people
Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim (Chairman)
Sam Barnett (CEO)
Owner
Websitewww.mbc.net Edit this at Wikidata

MBC Group (Arabic: مجموعة إم بي سي, romanizedMajmūʿat ʾIm Bī Sī), formerly known as Middle East Broadcasting Center (مركز تلفزيون الشرق الأوسط, Markaz Tilifizyūn al-Sharq al-ʾAwsaṭ), is a Saudi state-owned media conglomerate based in the Middle East and North Africa region. Launched in London in 1991, the company moved its headquarters to Dubai in 2002 then moved to Riyadh in 2022.[1]

MBC Group operates over 19 free-to-air satellite TV channels, and a video on demand service (Shahid). MBC 1 was the first broadcaster to provide a satellite-based free-to-air 24-hour television broadcasting network across the Arab world. The Group's current chairman is Sam Barnett.[2] Sam Barnett returned as MBC Group CEO in December 2020 after a one-year departure.[3] MBC's television arm broadcasts via Eutelsat, Arabsat and Nilesat satellites. MBC has more than 2,000 staff.

In recent years MBC has been hit with major rounds of financial cuts, leading to 150 layoffs and major production cuts. These cuts were driven in part due to advertising not covering production costs and the failure to acquire exclusive rights to the Saudi league.[4] As of 2011 MBC reported 165 million viewers.[5]

The group is currently 60% owned by the government of Saudi Arabia, with the rest belonging to its founder Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim.[6] In 2023, MBC Group announced its Initial Public Offering (IPO). The offering consisted of a primary offering of 33,250,000 new ordinary shares, representing 10% of the company's share capital post-listing. This move marked a significant step in the company's financial strategy and opened up new avenues for investment and growth.[7]

TV channels and services

All MBC channels are free-to-air except for the HD channels and MBC Plus Variety and MBC Plus eLife. They are available on OSN, STC TV and my-HD satellite service. They are all Pay-TV service providers in the Middle East.

MBC 1

Main article: MBC 1 (Middle Eastern and North African TV channel)

Launched in 1991 as the first independent free-to-air pan-Arab channel, MBC 1 is the leading channel in MENA region for family entertainment.

MBC 2

Main article: MBC 2 (Middle Eastern and North African TV channel)

The first free-to-air movie channel in the Arab world, MBC 2 offers a 24-hour non-stop stream of Hollywood movies, from blockbusters to classics and international films. This channel is censored to not show violence and pornography, including deep kiss, fetishism, eroticas, and nudity—all forms have been cut.

MBC 3

Main article: MBC 3

MBC 3 is a children's entertainment channel which delivers a programming mix of children's education and entertainment for Arab kids aged between three and thirteen. MBC3 also airs a locally produced reality show for kids, Eish Safari, which recruits young Arab kids and sets them on a month-long trip of mental and physical challenges. Recently, the channel produced a new game show called "Graduate in a Day", similar in concept to "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" for children and their parents.

MBC 4

Main article: MBC 4

MBC 4 is aimed primarily at Middle Eastern women and offers a broad mixture of K-Dramas, US and UK shows, comedy and drama series, films, as well as gameshows, movies, magazines, plus news and current affairs programming, in addition to Korean, K-Dramas, Indian, Turkish, Pakistani and Mexican dramas dubbed into Arabic. MBC4 delivers contemporary Western tunes.

MBC 5

A channel dedicated to family entertainment which was launched on 21 September 2019. Targeting Moroccan and Egyptian viewers specifically.[8]

MBC Action

Main article: MBC Action

A channel that targets young Arab males. It delivers Western series, movies, action reality shows as well as Japanese anime and sports programs. Some of its prime time shows include The Mentalist, The Vampire Diaries, Fringe, Supernatural, V, WWE and True Blood. The channel recently which is a weekly "magazine" format show about cars, similar to Top Gear, which they also broadcast the British and American versions of the BBC's Top Gear.

MBC Drama

Main article: MBC Drama (Middle East and North Africa)

One of the latest additions to the Group, which was officially launched on 27 November 2010. It is a family channel, with 24/7 Arabic drama series. The launch coincides with the Group's 20th anniversary, and marks our 10th channel launch. The channel runs a variety of different dramas: Egyptian, Syrian, Bedouin, Gulf And Kuwaiti dramas that are 1st runs and exclusive runs. MBC Drama is distinguished by the two additional repeats throughout the day, offering its viewers the choice of time, based on their various lifestyles and viewership trends. Do not confuse this channel with MBC's subscription-based channel MBC+ Drama.

MBC Max

Main article: MBC Max

The MBC Group's second 24-hour movie channel which caters to a younger audience. The channel airs Western, comedy, action, romance and drama movies as well as classic.

MBC Bollywood

Main article: MBC Bollywood

MBC launched MBC Bollywood on 26 October 2013.[9] MBC Bollywood is MBC Group's 14th channel,[10] and it is aimed to air 24 hours of Hindi cinema, either subtitled in Arabic, targeting South Asian audiences, and Arab Bollywood enthusiasts.

MBC Persia

Main article: MBC Persia

This channel was launched on 9 July 2008 and provides Persian language contents. The channel is dedicated to Iranian viewers and screens films and programs around the world.

MBC Masr

Main article: MBC Masr

MBC launched MBC Masr on 9 November 2012, and it is a division of MBC studios situated in Egypt and targeting Egyptian viewers.

MBC Masr 2

This channel was the two hours time-shifted service, but now it's a second channel for Egypt and has a different content.

MBC Iraq

Main article: MBC Iraq

Launched in February 2019, MBC Iraq is a premium channel aimed at the entire Iraqi family. Programmes focus on localised, Iraqi productions in drama, comedy and socio-cultural premium entertainment shows.

MBC FM and Panorama FM

These radio stations are the MBC Group's Arabic radio stations in Saudi that broadcast music, talk shows, competitions and local coverage of events and news. MBC FM plays local and Gulf music while Panorama FM delivers contemporary Arabic tunes.

Wanasah

Main article: Wanasah

A 24-hour music channel that targets the Arab youth, mainly in Eastern Arabia. The channel offers music videos, concerts, music & lifestyle programs as well as series.

MBC.net

One of the Arabic entertainment web portals in the region with a mix of sports, entertainment, movies and music content, along with its user interactivity and social networking features.

Shahid

Main article: Shahid (streaming platform)

The first free "video on demand" service in the Arab region, with the biggest streaming library of Arabic content.[11] Shahid is the largest premium VOD service in the world outside of China, the US, and India.[12] Shahid offers a catalogue of MBC's own shows, as well as dubbed or subtitled foreign content. In January 2020, it was announced Shahid partnered with Disney and Fox to bring more than 3,000 hours of content, including Star Wars, Marvel, and such Disney classics as Frozen. The Service also announced 9 Arabic originals.

MBC Hope

MBC Hope was launched in June 2013 to handle the consumer social relationship elements of MBC. This initiative launched campaigns such as "Syrians without an address" and "Stars on board". In 2017 MBC Hope was expanded to Egypt, with a goal to support female entrepreneurs.[4]

MBC+ Variety

It is a 24-hour entertainment channel that airs Western variety content. The channel is now exclusively on Arabsat, My-HD platform. MBC+ Variety delivers contemporary Western tunes.

Loud FM

Launched in May 2023, Loud FM airs English music and is the first international CHR station in the KSA. MBC Loud FM delivers contemporary Western tunes.[13]

MBC Studios

In 2018, MBC established its own production studio to produce film and television series targeting at Middle-Eastern audiences.[14] MBC Studios later expanded to work with Hollywood studios to produce English-language features.[15]

Controversy

In 2007, MBC began airing its first Turkish soap opera dubbed into another language. Over the next few years these programs became a major success for MBC, with over 85 million viewing the finale of Gümüş.[16] In 2018, MBC moved to remove all Turkish programming from their channels, no official reason were given.

In 2017, a number of owners and board members of MBC were summoned to Riyadh where they were arrested, accused of corruption, and locked in the Ritz-Carlton. These moves came following years of the Saudi Crown Prince attempting to purchase the media company. After 83 days the company's chief owner Waleed al-Ibrahim was released.[17] A "senior MBC executive" was cited by Arabian Business stating that Waleed al-Ibrahim was found innocent of any wrongdoing.[18]

In 2019, MBC Masr came under scrutiny for its use of blackface in comedy programming. Popular Egyptian comedian Shaimaa Seif has done a number of programs on MBC using blackface and stereotypes for humor.[19]

Some have raised concern of the amount of American advertisements on MBC channels, with some studies suggesting over 50% of advertising time is devoted towards American products such as those from Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg's, and PepsiCo. These critics state that this leads to cultural imperialism and erodes at the native cultures of areas in the Middle East and North Africa. In a study focused on Algerian consumer preferences, it was found that these consumers were drawn to American advertisements and products advertised on MBC. This in turn led Algerian companies to mimic the advertising style and aesthetic of American companies.[20]

Use of technology

In 2010, MBC Max provided the ability to watch English movies along with watching English movies (English voices) with or without Arabic subtitles.

In July 2011, MBC launched 7 of its channels in HD which includes MBC 1, MBC 2, MBC 3, MBC 4, MBC Action, MBC Max, and MBC Drama. These HD versions of these channels are encrypted using Conax while SD are FTA.

In 2017, Snapchat expanded its "Discover" feature to provide content from regional providers including MBC.[21]

Criticism

On 17 September 2013, the Anti-Defamation League criticized the network for using a clip of the 2009 film Inglourious Basterds in which the Adolf Hitler character was speaking to other Nazis, with the subtitles replaced with advertisements for the network. The League said "The use of such imagery contributes to the trivialization of and desensitization to the unparalleled horrors of the Holocaust."

References

  1. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (20 September 2022). "MBC Group Opens New Headquarters in Riyadh That Will Boost Saudi Film and TV Industries". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Chairman message - mbc.net - English". www.mbc.net. Archived from the original on 27 January 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Sam Barnett returns to MBC as group CEO".
  4. ^ a b "MBC Group (Middle East Broadcasting Center)". egypt.mom-rsf.org. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC): A Case of the Content Management Blues". The Tilt. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  6. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (4 November 2022). "Top Middle East Broadcaster MBC Group Eyeing Flotation on Saudi Stock Market: Report". Variety. Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  7. ^ "MBC Shares Offering" (PDF). mbc.net. 21 November 2023. Retrieved 23 November 2023.
  8. ^ "الرئيسية". Archived from the original on 1 October 2019.
  9. ^ "MBC launches Bollywood channel". Arab News. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  10. ^ "MBC promises 'fresh approach' to Bollywood with new channel". Al Arabiya. 26 October 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  11. ^ "All-new Shahid: MBC partners with Disney and Fox for fresh version of streaming platform". 16 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Shahid reports 23% surge in viewer numbers year on year".
  13. ^ "LOUD FM: MBC group launches English-language radio station in Saudi Arabia". Al Arabiya English. 13 May 2023. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  14. ^ Ritman, Alex (18 September 2018). "Peter Smith to Lead New Saudi Production Banner MBC Studios". The Hollywood Reporter. Valence Media.
  15. ^ Ritman, Alex (24 November 2021). "MBC Studios' Saudi Arabia Boss on "New Era" as A-List Features 'Desert Warrior,' 'Kandahar' Make History in the Kingdom". The Hollywood Reporter. PMRC.
  16. ^ Buccianti, Alexandra. "Dubbed Turkish soap operas conquering the Arab world: social liberation or cultural alienation?" (PDF). S2CID 11944838. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 February 2020.
  17. ^ Hubbard, Ben (26 January 2018). "Saudi Arabia Frees Media Mogul, but His Company's Fate Remains a Mystery". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  18. ^ "Saudi Arabia to seize controlling stake in broadcaster MBC".
  19. ^ Walsh, Declan (18 August 2019). "Blackface, Staple of Arab Comedy, Faces Surge of Criticism". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  20. ^ Sarra, Merzougui. "The Impact of the American Cultural Imperialism on the Algerian Society:A Study of American Advertisements on the MBC Channels" (PDF).
  21. ^ Radcliffe, Damian; Lam, Amanda (2018). "Social Media in the Middle East: The Story of 2017; Key developments, stories and research findings". University of Oregon: 23. doi:10.7264/N31J9849.