Arabised, locally produced content key to MENA broadcast success: IDC

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 30 March 2015

The production and delivery of localised Arabic content to a pan-Arab audience is underdeveloped and ripe for growth, according to ICT consulting firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

IDC asserts that 'differentiation, hybrid models of content production, and a focus on youth will ultimately be the keys to success' for broadcasters and media partners in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

MBC's localised versions of popular international formats such as Entertainment Tonight, X-Factor, Idol, and Project Runway have all proved successful, says IDC, among a growing range of local TV hits. Fox has green lit a second season of mixed martial arts (MMA) reality show Al Batal; OSN is into the fifth season of Atibaa w Akhtar (Saudi Doctors), a health-based reality show that is specially tailored for Arab viewers; and MBC's 03 production house has delivered drama series O4 to favourable reviews.

"Broadcasters, advertisers, and media partners can begin to differentiate themselves in many ways, but the best way to do this is via content," says Tracey Grant, programme manager for digital media and broadcasting, IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

"Content is now the experience commodity that businesses can leverage in order to achieve growth, and MENA's media players are beginning to understand that they can achieve greater success if they provide content that is unmissable, content that generates both social media chatter and face-to-face discussion, and content that will both inspire and add value to brands."

IDC suggests that the Arabic versions of international formats will whet the appetite for more regional content in MENA. The consultancy suggests that developments in other international markets show the explosion of global format acquisition tends to serve as a precursor to the emergence of home-grown productions.

"Hybrid models that combine international format production with language adaption and home-grown local production are likely to be the key to success," said Grant.

"Broadcasters are advised to focus on providing regional content that is both appealing and takes into account the diverse individual country preferences that must be catered for across this vast region. The youth demographic will be critical, and those broadcasters that can satisfy their wants and desires with tailor-made content will not only experience enhanced loyalty but also extended reach."