Arabian Challenge

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MTV NETWORKS: THE ARABIAN CHALLENGE

MTV Networks (MTVN) was launched MTV Arabia on November17, 2007 partnership with Arabian Television Network (ATN) as part of their strategy to extend their network over the world including in Middle East. General Manager of MTV Arabia, Patrick Samaha (Samaha) have to ensure their strategy which is to ensure the programs won over the hearts of the Arabs and adhered to local taste and culture without diluting MTV global brand.

Timeline / Background of MTVN

1977- Nickelodeon was part of MTV Networks is the earliest primarily channel and keeping the children as their target.

1981- MTV was launched on August 1, promoted by Warner Amex Satellite Company, a joint venture between Warner Communications and American Express.

1984- Company was renamed MTV Networks (MTVN) and its operation confined to the US.

1985- Launched many channels such as VH-1 to play light popular music.

1986- MTVN was acquired by Viacom Inc.

1987- MTVN launched first overseas channel in Europe and it is a beginning of MTV’s global expansion. International arm of MTVN was known as MTVI.

Mid 1990’s- MTVI successful brand globally, it had adapt to local conditions.

Early 2000’s- MTVI penetrate new market, Australia.

Mid 2006- MTVI had expanded to 179 countries and operated more than 130 channels over 25 languages across the Europe, Asia, Latin America and Australia.

End of 2007- MTVI had over 140 channels around the world with 1.5 billion potential viewers.

In August 2006, MTVI was partnership with Arabian Television Network (ATN) to enter the Middle East. The launched team comprised a mix Saudi’s, Palestinians, Emiratis, Iraqis and Lebanese. It was officially launched on November 17, 2007 with 24 hour and free-to-air television channel. The channel’s programming was to have a mix of music video, music based programming, general lifestyle and animated programs, reality shows etc including new shows in Arabic to cater to pan-Arab youth audiences. Nickelodeon Arabia was launched on 2008, It would be a first free-to-air channel for children in Arabic. But MTV has big challenges especially MTV was known that carried the image of open Western culture. So they need to transform and prepare the effective strategy to achieve their target and sustain itself against the competitors in Middle East.

QUESTION 1: Experts felt that one of the biggest challenges faced by MTV while launching MTV Arabian was the prevalent culture in the Arab world. Discuss the Arab culture. How is it expected to pose a challenge to MTV?

The Arab culture predominant in countries such as those found in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Saudi Arabia are known for their religious, political and social conservatism.

Arab culture is synonymous with Islam and view as traditionalism and heavily instilled with a set of beliefs, values and attitudes that stem from strong religious conviction, shared culture, religion, and language underlie behavioral similarities throughout the Middle East. The culture is so influenced by the religion that Allah is always present, controls everything, and is frequently referred to in conversation. There are several difference between Middle East/ Arab and West which are Arabic oriented set of laws especially religion, defending honour is part of the culture heritage, culture focuses on close familial ties, protection on the virtue of their women and in Iraq seek no need to succeed beyond their norm which different with west culture which is lack respect, pride is freedom of choice, freedom to choose own relationship and system of government gives a perspective role. The moral framework acts as a guide for the Arab consumer and anything that may seem to be at odds with that framework may cause conflict and a hesitance to accept/adopt. This notion is further accentuated by the fact that a majority of music and entertainment TV channels are of a more sensitive, lighter...
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