Arabic reality TV shows get second wind

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 11 June 2015

Sequels to previously aired Arabic reality TV shows now make up the largest share of reality shows in the Middle East, according to research from Arab Advisors Group.

Out of 17 analysed Arabic reality TV shows shown during 2014 and until March 2015, nine are original shows rather than localised formats licensed from global production companies. Some 75% of the total are subsequent seasons of reality TV shows aired in prior years, said the report's author, Hiba Rabadi, Arab Advisors' senior research analyst.

In 2014, 15 reality TV shows were broadcast in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on selected free-to-air satellite TV channels, while 17 shows have already aired or are scheduled to air this year.

Increasing competition among the satellite channels has resulted in a rise of new, quality entertainment to maintain and draw in viewers and advertisers. "Reality TV's attraction lies in its relative novelty to audience as well as its lower costs of production as participants are mainly regular people and not highly paid movie and TV stars," said Arab Advisors Group.