The Cartoon Network on Sunday revealed it is to launch a free-to-air Arabic language channel later this year, to broadcast its flagship children’s programmes across the Middle East and North Africa.
The Time Warner-owned network will air 24-hour coverage of popular children’s shows such as Ben 10, Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, alongside the homegrown 3-D animation series Freej, in a bid to tap the region’s 35 million households.
Chris Groves, managing director of Turner Broadcasting Middle East, a unit of Time Warner, said the channel came in response to the growing need for Arabic-language content.
“There’s been a great deal of demand for Arabic content in this region, and launching a 24/7 Arabic Cartoon Network channel is a further testament to our growing investment in the region,” Groves said.
The channel is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of the year.
The announcement is the latest in a string of deals made by the US-based Cartoon Network. In April, the broadcaster inked a deal with Dubai’s Lammtara; the studio behind popular animation series Freej.
Under the terms of the deal, Cartoon Network is able to syndicate the show outside the Middle East, while airing Freej on its network.
The deal also allows the broadcaster to use the show’s characters in a local version of its part live-action, part animation production Skatoony.
Cartoon Network has also inked a deal with Abu Dhabi’s state-backed multimedia organisation, Twofour54, to launch an Arab animation academy in September.
A production studio is also scheduled to begin operations next year, backed by the broadcaster.