Sun 06 Dec 2009 12:57 PM
Sheikh Walid Al Ibrahim

Industry: Media & Marketing

Company: MBC - Middle East Broadcasting Corporation

Designation: Chairman and CEO

Country: Saudi Arabia

Occupation: Chairman and CEO

A brother-in-law of the late HRH King Fahd, Sheikh Walid Al Ibrahim founded the MBC network, the Arab world's first privately owned, 24-hour, pan Arab satellite broadcaster in 1991. Today MBC is one of the Arab world's most influential networks.

Immediately innovative, MBC swiftly became the undoubted market leader in bringing news and quality family entertainment programming to more than 130 million Arabic-speaking people around the world.

That's not to say there weren't mistakes along the way. MBC was late to develop a 24-hour news channel, so the Qataris beat him to the punch and launched the hard-hitting and sometimes controversial market leader, Al Jazeera.

However, with typical intelligence, Al Ibrahim set out to recapture the market, and launched Al Arabiya news channel before the invasion of Iraq six years ago. The timing couldn't have been better, and although there were early rumblings of discontent at the channel's perceived pro-American stance, it has since gained a loyal audience.

Al Arabiya also has the advantage of not having displeased key governments across the region. While Al Jazeera is barred from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and has upset officials in Jordan, Algeria, the Palestinian Authority and Kuwait, Al Ibrahim's network has maintained good relationships with governments.

Today, less than two decades after its launch, MBC Group is much larger than just its news network and is developing into a veritable media powerhouse. Its profitability and viewer numbers continue to soar, which has led to even greater innovations destined to capture the attention of young and old, for many decades to come.