Turner inks major Middle East deal
By Chris Dziadul
February 29, 2012 11.06 Europe/London

CABSAT 2012 – DUBAI. UAE-based YahLive and Turner Broadcasting Systems (TBS) have signed an agreement under which the latter’s Cartoon Network Arabic channel will become available exclusively via YahLive’s satellite service.

Speaking exclusively to Broadband TV News, YahLive CEO Mohamed Youssif said that the development was particularly significant in that it would be the first time a kids channel would become available in HD in the Middle East region.

He added that the company would continue to cooperate with Turner and hopefully introduce more of the latter’s channels, including CNN, to its offer in the future.

Commenting on its offer, Youssif said that the platform aims of have all kinds of genres represented. It was nevertheless interesting to see that a study undertaken in six countries – Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and UAE – before the Arab Spring found that the three most popular genres overall were news, movies and general entertainment. Only in one (Egypt) did sport feature, and then in third place.

Speaking again exclusively to Broadband TV News, Alan Musa, TBS VP and general manager for the Middle East-Africa region, said that Cartoon Network HD, though featuring mostly US-produced content, is translated into Arabic and adapted to take into account local culture.

He also said that it is a personal ambition of his to create locally produced content for the region and two animation shows will soon be piloted.

Musa added that there are already some 10 million HD-ready TV sets in Middle East.