Dubai's MBC plans digital focus as streaming competition hots up

Johannes Larcher joins MBC Group as managing director, Digital & VOD Websites to drive expansion
Dubai's MBC plans digital focus as streaming competition hots up
MBC Group CEO, Sam Barnett, with Johannes Larcher, joins MBC Group as managing director, Digital & VOD Websites.
By Sam Bridge
Fri 11 Jan 2019 01:42 AM

Dubai-based broadcaster MBC Group has confirmed plans to prioritise its digital services with an investment strategy for the next five years as the Middle East video streaming competition hots up.

With the likes of Netflix, StarzPlay and Amazon Prime competing for market share in the region, MBC's strategy focuses on the group’s video on demand (VOD) platforms, SHAHID and SHAHID PLUS, with plans to launch a series of new offerings and initiatives that include SHAHID Original productions and global content acquisitions.

It has appointed digital media executive, Johannes Larcher, as managing director, Digital & VOD Websites to drive the growth.

He will be responsible for enhancing MBC Group’s entire digital offering, including its flagship SHAHID and SHAHID PLUS services.

MBC Group CEO, Sam Barnett, said: “We reach 140 million viewers every day across the Middle East, both through our satellite television channels and online through our video on demand service, SHAHID. And as audience habits evolve we are evolving with them.

"What remains fundamental to our business is the ability to produce, package and deliver content of the highest quality to people all the way from Morocco in the West across North Africa, to Egypt and then to the Levant, Iraq and then the Gulf. SHAHID combines the very best of our pan-Arab television premium content and the local content that delights audiences in all of the 23 countries in the region.”

He added: “Johannes joins us to lead the next stage in our development plan for SHAHID. We are already a destination for the best Arabic content. Now our challenge is to boost the volume of premium video content both from MBC Studios and further afield, to upgrade our technology and to extend our distribution."

Larcher said: “The MENA region’s increasingly digital consumers represent tremendous opportunities for innovation and growth in online video. SHAHID’s goal is to become the most beloved premium digital video service in MENA.”

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