In the first part of our analysis we are trying to understand what MTV International (MTVI) was doing in the Arabic region, which parts of the Middle East they were particularly interested in, and at what time they were trying to do this.
In order to spread their network to the Middle East region, MTV launched a channel in partnership withArabian Television Network (ATN) to broadcast not only entertainment to this region, but to take up social issues and try to contribute to Arab society through the airing or Arabic music and culture. Through this broadcasting arrangement, MTV hoped to use music as a unifying cultural force across regions. ATN was a part of the bigger Arabian Broadcasting Network (ABN). MTV entered in with localregional partner, Arab Media Group (AMG), an already established player in the Arab media industry. Therefore, channel MTV Arabia was formed as a result of a licensing arrangement between MTV and AMG. The arrangement allowed MTV to earn an estimated $10 million annually in license fees from AMG for 10 years. And having such a contract with a strong partner was vital for MTVN, as MTV Arabia was consideredto be the biggest launch in MTV’s history in terms of impending audience at launch, with an expected market of 190 million people aged 25 and younger. Therefore, MTV’s reach would be considered quite substantial in this Arabic region.
MTVN was looking to launch their network in Saudi Arabia as a part of a ‘Global Expansion Policy’. The Middle East did not yet have an international music brand,although it already had numerous music channels. Thus, MTV was planning on entering a number of Arabian states at once, namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Palestine, and Syria. MTV Arabia was thought to be MTV’s most “ambitious and challenging venture” (MTV Networks: The Arabian Challenge).
Prior to the merger of MTVand AMG, MTV had already recently entered into an agreement with Showtime Arabia in the early 2000’s. This agreement allowed MTV and Nickelodeon to be aired in English with Arabian subtitles. MTV first announced the idea for launching a network in the Middle East in August 2006. The global player stated that it was on a lookout for local partners in the Middle East in order to provide the regionalaudience with content that differed from what was already offered by popular Arabian music channels. One of the most important landmarks in MTV’s 25 year history happened when it launched MTV Arabia on November 17, 2007.
Concluding our quantitative analysis, MTV is trying to enter the Arabian market in various states in the region with the help of a strong local partner, and they did so just oneyear after announcing their interest in the lucrative and huge market.
In our qualitative analysis we will focus on what the reason for the MTVI were to choose a market like Arabia. Why are they trying to move into a market that at first glance does not really correspond to MTV's brand image? Furthermore, we will point out how MTVI is trying to solve problems arising fromcultural differences and possible anti-American sentiments in the region.
There is a great attractiveness to the market in Arabia, especially when it comes to MTV Networks (MTVN) as its main target group is below 25 (with Nickelodeon they are even having a children’s TV channel). In the Arabian world MTV finds very favorable demographics. 65% of the population is 25 and younger; this resultsin a 190 million audience for a television network of MTV's kind. But those favorable demographics aren't the only factor in the Arabian market that is attracting MTV. Even though the television landscape in the Middle East already offers over 50 channels that focus on music, there is no international competitor, no platform to support and eventually export local talents. Within this vacuum MTV...