Mid-East TV giant to start film-making

Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC), the Saudi-backed but Dubai-based broadcasting giant, will start financing and commissioning films.

Badih Fattouh, Director of Group Content at MBC, said the network is moving into financing and commissioning films. MBC's first such venture was financing a short film called The Circle, made by a well-known Kuwaiti film maker, which was also shown to a select audience at the Gulf Film Festival, held in Dubai recently.

MBC is the undoubted market-leader in pan-Arabic television. It currently broadcasts 9 different satellite channels, including brand-leader MBC1, news channel Al-Arabiya and speciality channels MBC Max, MBC Action, MBC2, MBC3, MBC4 as well as channels for its Farsi and Maghreb viewers. Combined, the channels give MBC a 43% viewing share according to Booz & Co data.

Last week MBC signed an output deal with Warner Bros to gain “exclusive” access to all of Warner’s series production up to 2011, to show on MBC’s ‘Action’ series channel. The deal includes the Terminator shows, Fringe and The Mentalist. Gemma Yates, channel manager for MBC4 and MBC Action, said: “This is part of a long term deal with Warner Bros. We literally have access to all their shows. Anything produced by them over the next three years will come to us."