MENA-produced reality TV tops format-based shows
Rebecca Hawkes | 02-05-2013

The number of locally produced reality television shows in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has exceeded those international hit formats that are remade for a regional audience, according to new research.

In 2012, 16 reality TV shows were broadcast in the Arab world on the free-to-air (FTA) satellite channels the report looked at, while 13 shows have already aired or are scheduled to air in 2013, says the Arab Advisors Group. Others are shown on pay-TV platforms.

Liberalisation and a boom in both satellite TV supply and audience figures have spurred many networks to invest in quality content to attract both advertisers and viewers, says the report. Reality TV is a popular choice due to the novelty factor for those watching and lower production costs than shows featuring celebrity actors.

"Out of the 18 reality TV shows aired in 2012/2013, 12 are original shows rather than licensed formats from global companies," said Hiba Rabadi, Arab Advisors research analyst.

"Moreover, channels are increasingly employing social media as a tool for increased interactivity with their audience. 12 out of the 18 reality TV shows have online presence on social media portals," added Ms Rabadi.

Popular reality shows in MENA have included international formats such as MBC's Arab Idol and the locally produced Nojoum Al Oloum.