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Tue 6 Dec 2011 08:47 AM

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MBC Group vows nudity slip won’t happen again

Dubai network says new series of checks means broadcast error won't be repeated

MBC Group vows nudity slip won’t happen again
MBC has inked a deal to air seven of its channels in high-definition

An incident which saw Dubai-based
TV network MBC Group accidentally screen a film
showing partial nudity
will not be repeated, its CEO told Arabian Business on
Monday.

The
network has implemented several new processes to eliminate errors after
screening an uncut version of Sean Penn’s ‘Into The Wild’ last month, said Sam
Barnett.

“We’ve
put in place three or four different controls to make sure it doesn’t happen
[again]. There is always technical error and human error in any process,” he
said.

“Unfortunately
for our viewers there was an error that worked its way through the system, [but]
we’ve gone back and looked at different parts of our system and put in extra
controls.”

The
screening prompted many viewers to complain on social networking site Twitter,
saying they were embarrassed by the nature of the footage. But other viewers
defended the channel’s right to show an unedited version of the film.

MBC, the
first private free-to-air satellite broadcasting company in the Arab world,
said Monday it had tied up with Abu Dhabi-based YahLive to screen seven of its
channels in high definition (HD) via the satellite for free-to-air.

The channels
- which include MBC 1, MBC 2, MBC 4; MBC Action; MBC Drama; MBC MAX; and Al
Arabiya News Channel – are already available via YahLive, said MBC.

MBC
Group is investing millions of dollars in upgrading its system to HD as it
looks to boost its viewer numbers, said Barnett.

“The HD
strategy is a five-year plan. When we started off in July, we started off with
zero viewers and it goes up incrementally.

“[Going
HD] was just a question of when we went. There is a value in being first and
catching the wave and there was a value in waiting and letting the cost of the
equipment go down and our take was it crossed over mid this year,” he added.

Advertising
revenues are expected to remain flat or grow marginally next year amid concerns
of a global slowdown, said Barnett.

“We have
some good fortunes at MBC because we are the largest [so] even if the overall
market is shrinking, people will tend to consolidate their spend on the
channels, which deliver the biggest ratings so I am confident that MBC will
maintain [rates].

“We hope
that they’ll be some growth but I’m not expecting that they’ll be 15-20 percent
next year. If it’s flat we won’t be surprised, if it grows slightly by 5
percent then it that’s a good outcome.”

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