Abu Dhabi goes +1

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is the most important in the religious calendar, and for broadcasters.
A month of fasting and something of a topsy-turvy lifestyle for all believers also means record ratings for TV companies. Get a good “Ramadan Drama” on your channel and you might well win the ratings for the complete month. But it also means massive competition between the channels for viewer loyalty. Abu Dhabi TV thinks it has a solution.

Abu Dhabi TV, owned by the immensely wealthy Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), will launch a “plus one hour” channel of its primary channel, starting in September which coincides with this year’s Ramadan. ADMC is investing heavily in an attempt to see its profile raised to equal – or even exceed – arch-rivals MBC and the two Beirut stations LBC and Future TV. It has bought an Endemol reality format, Tons of Cash, and another couple of high-profile shows.

“We want to meet the wishes of viewers for innovation, richer programming and more convenience and choice," said Abu Dhabi exec director Karim Sarkis, speaking to local press. "Our new identity, richer programming and the launch of Abu Dhabi +1 is part of our strategy to lead the development of high-quality entertainment and content across the Arab world."

The scheme also means that those who tend to eat a little later in the evening and tend to have a lifestyle that extends into the late evening will get a chance to “catch up” on Abu Dhabi TV’s shows – and can be rolled into the overall ratings for the channel.