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Sat 6 Jun 2015 09:36 AM

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UAE's Image Nation inks deal to create Quest Arabiya channel

Discovery Communications to partner on new channel primarily aimed at Arab men aged 16-44

UAE's Image Nation inks deal to create Quest Arabiya channel
Mohammed Al Mubarak, chairman of Image Nation Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi-based Image Nation has partnered with Discovery Communications to create and launch a new Arabic language TV channel for the Middle East and North Africa.

Quest Arabiya will be free-to-air and will go live in the final quarter of 2015.

The channel, whose focus is male-oriented factual and reality programmes, will be a combination of regionally-produced original material and Arabized content from Discovery’s vast library of non-fiction shows, a statement said.

Aimed primarily at Arab men aged 16-44, key programming genres will include adventure and survival, motoring, engineering, wildlife, history and people and places.

Quest Arabiya, which will be broadcasting 24 hours a day, will be headed up by Carl von Doussa, general manager of channels at Image Nation.

The venture highlights the growing importance of TV and digital media as platforms for original content and commissions in the Middle East, providing new opportunities for local talent and production companies to increase their output, while providing a host of new training and development opportunities in the media industry in the region, the statement added.

A search has already begun for on-screen talent and production companies to pitch and produce shows centring on culture and lifestyle that reflect GCC and MENA customs and traditions.

“In partnering with Discovery to launch a new TV channel in the Middle East and North Africa, we are doing what Abu Dhabi does best – marrying world-class expertise with regional knowledge,” said Mohammed Al Mubarak, chairman of Image Nation Abu Dhabi.

“Quest Arabiya will provide a needed boost to the private media sector in the UAE as we will be commissioning more content than ever before and producing at the highest international standards.”

The launch of Quest Arabiya will see Discovery grow and further localise its presence in the MENA TV market. Operating from a dedicated office in the UAE, the company currently offers a portfolio of TV channels, which includes free-to-air Fatafeat as well as pay TV channels Discovery Channel HD, TLC HD, Animal Planet HD, Discovery Science HD, ID: Investigation Discovery and Discovery World, distributed on OSN.

Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation added: “For us, Quest Arabiya is a significant step into the area of TV, which provides more opportunity for regional industry professionals to make their mark. Quite simply, the platform means more opportunity for local content to air, more production and more jobs.

“Through Discovery’s international networks we also look forward to some great untold Middle Eastern stories reaching a huge audience across the world.”