Mtv Networks: the Arabian Challenge

Topics: United Arab Emirates, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula Pages: 23 (4320 words) Published: March 20, 2013
ICMR Case Collection



Icfai Center for Management Research

MTV Networks: The Arabian Challenge





BSTR294 - Teaching Note

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MTV Networks: The Arabian Challenge



MTV Networks (MTVN) had over the years developed a reputation for its ability to provide localized content without diluting what MTV stood for. However, the company faced the most challenging test in late 2007 with its launch of MTV Arabia in the Middle East, which some experts considered as the biggest launch in the channel’s history. While the market in the Middle East offered MTVN with huge opportunities due to its huge youth populace, MTV’s controversial content that was known for angering religious, political, and conservative communities could easily backfire in the conservative environment prevalent in the region. On the other hand, too much localization to suit the tastes of the region could dilute MTV’s global brand. The case discusses in detail the strategy adopted by MTVN to enter and expand in the Middle East and also the challenges faced by the channel.

The case will help the students to:



Understand the issues and challenges in entering and expanding operations in new markets which were culturally different from the organizations home/traditional/existing markets.

Understand the pros and cons of entering a new market with a standardized/adapted product to suit local preferences.

Analyze MTVN’s strategy in the Middle East, identify challenges and explore strategies that the channel could adopt in the future




This case is meant for students of the MBA/MS level programs in the Business Strategy curriculum. The case is also suitable for International Business/International Marketing/Brand Management curriculum.

This case can be used effectively in classroom discussions as well as in distance learning programs. In the classroom mode, the case moderator can initiate the discussion by giving a brief introduction about the MTV and the channels experience in global markets. This can be followed by a discussion on the localization strategy adopted by MTV in various markets and the challenges it faced while lauching in the Middle East. The students can further analyze the strategy adopted by MTV in the Middle East and the challenges it faced in expanding its operations in the region. The moderator can take the discussion further with the help of the following questions.


MTV Networks: The Arabian Challenge

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

2. Critically analyze MTV’s strategy in the Middle East. Comment on its entry strategy and also its strategy of providing mixed content to the market. Do you think MTV will be able to succeed in this market?

Suggested Student Assignment:
Do a SWOT analysis of MTV Arabia. What should the company do to mitigate the risks while taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the market?

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



The Arab world contains 22 countries – Algeria,...

References: June 4, 1997.
2. Kerry Capell, Catherine Belton, Tom Lowry, Manjeet Kripalani, Brian Bremner, and
Dexter Roberts, “MTV’s World,” BusinessWeek, February 18, 2002.
3. “MTV to Launch Music TV Channels in Three Baltic States,”,
March 6, 2006.
4. Faisal Abbas, “Q&A with Showtime Arabia 's CEO Peter Einstein,”, June 29, 2006.
5. Faisal Abbas, “MTV Eyes Middle East Market,”, August 8, 2006.
6. Brad Nemer, “How MTV Channels Innovation,” BusinessWeek, November 6, 2006.
7. “Arabian Television Network Partners with MTV to Launch MTV Arabiya,”, December 27, 2006.
9. Iain Akerman, “MTV Hires Two Agencies for Launch of MTV Arabiya,”, May 23, 2007.
10. Salman Dossari, “A Talk With MTV Vice Chairman Bill Roedy,”,
July 23, 2007.
11. Ali Jaafar, “MTV Arabia Ready to Rock Middle East,”, September
25, 2007.
13. Kerry Capell, “The Arab World Wants Its MTV,”, October 11,
17, 2007.
15. Stuart Kemp, “MTV, Arab Media to, October 17, 2007.
Audiences,”, October 18, 2007.
17. “Arab Media Group and MTV Networks International to Launch Nickelodeon
Arabia in 2008,”, October 20, 2007.
18. Von Andrew Edgecliffe Johnson, “MTV Tunes in to a Local Audience,”,
October 26, 2007,
19. “MTV Arabia to Launch November 17,”, October 27,
20. Ali Jaafar, “MTV Arabia Announces Lineup,”, October 28, 2007.
21. “MTV Arabia to Launch November 17,”, October 28, 2007.
22. Irene Lew, “MTV Arabia to Launch in November,”, October
29, 2007.
23. Sarah Raper Larenaudie, “MTV’s Arab Prizefight,”, November 2, 2007.
24. Jolanta Chudy, “MTV’s Arab Net Thinking Locally,”,
November 6, 2007.
25. Matt Pomroy, “The Revolution Will be Televised,”,
November 15, 2007.
26. “Akon and Ludacris Dazzle The Desert in their Middle East Debuts to Celebrate the
Launch of MTV Arabia,”, November 16, 2007.
27. Adam Sherwin, “MTV Arabia to Feature Regional Talent and Tone Down Network’s
Risque Content,”, November 16, 2007.
28. Simeon Kerr and Peter Aspden, “MTV Arabia Beams ‘Bling’ to Gulf,”,
November 17, 2007.
29. “MTV Launches New Arabic Service,”, November 18, 2007.
30. “MTV Looks to Conquer Middle East Market,”, November 18, 2007.
31. ““MTV Arabia”: Will It Work?”, November 19, 2007.
32. “MTV Aims to Win over Middle East,”, November 19, 2007.
“Muslim Hip-hop Turban Wrote, That’s Good,”, November
19, 2007.
November 21, 2007.
35. Barbara Surk, “MTV Launches Arab Music Video Channel,”,
November 22, 2007.
36. Tamara Walid, “Finally Got My MTV,”, November 22, 2007.
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