Vivendi to expand in Middle East

Rebecca Hawkes | 22-03-2011

French media group Vivendi is currently in discussions with telecommunications companies and banks in the Middle East to expand its operations in the region, after opening an office recently in Dubai.

“We are working with partners that have not been disclosed,” Jean-Bernard Levy, Vivendi’s chairman told Abu Dhabi newspaper The National. “It’s a young office and we hope to announce more partnerships within weeks and months. We are working to make it happen.”

The group, which among many assets owns Universal Music and a majority stake in French pay-TV company Canal+, also holds a 53% share in Maroc Telecom in Morocco. In 2010, Vivendi also signed a content deal with Qatar’s Qtel through Universal Music.

“We have a solid path to growth in the MENA region,” Mr Levy added, confirming the music video website Vevo will launch in the Middle East by the end of June and the UK within weeks, as joint venture between Vivendi, Abu Dhabi Media and Sony Music.

Vevo has so far been limited to North American consumers, who are able to choose from 26,300 music videos uploaded by major artists so far. Unique viewers to the site – which launched in December 2009 - had reached 43.7 million as of June 2010.

"It has been a tremendous success and this will help consumers from the Middle East to access thousands of videos and music content," Mr Levy told The National.