Quest Arabiya is the latest addition to the MENAs already crowded free-to-air market. BroadcastPro ME spoke to the team behind the channel to find out how they plan to differentiate the channel’s content Quest Arabiya, an Arabic-language TV channel and the result of a partnership between Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Discovery Communications, was launched last […]
Quest Arabiya is the latest addition to the MENAs already crowded free-to-air market. BroadcastPro ME spoke to the team behind the channel to find out how they plan to differentiate the channel’s content
Quest Arabiya, an Arabic-language TV channel and the result of a partnership between Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Discovery Communications, was launched last month. It has recruited young talent from across the region to be the faces of the free-to-air channel, which is now broadcasting from twofour54, Abu Dhabi.
Quest Arabiya claims to fill the gap in the Arab TV market by providing regional factual entertainment content to be showcased within the region as well as globally. As a Discovery Network brand, the channel has access to the vast library of Discovery content, which will be repurposed for Arab audiences. Image Nation will provide production capabilities to the channel to create local, relatable content for the region’s viewers.
Speaking at the launch event, Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation Abu Dhabi, said: The launch of the channel is very much in line with Image Nations commitment to supporting the regional media industry, providing opportunities for regional production companies to generate content and showcase regional talent.
In an interview with BroadcastPro ME, Carl von Doussa, General Manager of Quest Arabiya, said that Quest Arabiya has been launched as a pan-Arab channel and will not be limited to one particular country.
At the heart of our offering, we are showcasing untold stories from the region. With our partnership with Discovery, we also have the opportunity to take this content to international audiences. Audiences from the region shape our programming and our channel, he explained, adding that the channel has a robust digital service with interactive social media platform for audience feedback.
How do we get into peoples preferred repertoire of channels when there are 800 other free-to-air channels competing in the same space? Building a strong online platform is one way of doing that, he pointed out.
While programmes dubbed into Arabic from Discoverys content library make up the core of the channel, there will be equal focus on original programming. The idea is to create content thats relevant and relatable to a local audience and can also be exported outside the region. In future, shows will be commissioned based on feedback through Quest Arabiyas social media channels meaning communities get to shape what they ultimately see on the screen.
We have a team of 26, but our model is based on outsourcing, von Doussa said, adding that Choueri Group will handle the media representation for the channel while Ericsson as the technology partner, will take care of the channels playout from the twofour54 campus in Abu Dhabi.
Dubbing houses in Lebanon, Egypt and the UAE have been working to create more than a thousand hours of dubbed content to be aired on the 24/7 channel. The team has already adapted some of Quests most popular shows for the local audience.
We will be doing a lot of commissioning using independent production companies, which is our key focus. However, the fact remains that we are a commercial channel, looking at developing local talent in an entertaining way across the region, said von Doussa.
Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, said the channel is the companys first attempt at broadcasting.
We never saw ourselves as a broadcaster but were selected by the leadership for our core competence in developing world-class content. We have been developing content in the form of feature films within Abu Dhabi and the UAE and are known for taking local talent and helping to build their international reputation.
This partnership with Discovery will reach 22 countries and create opportunities for talents within the region to create content and share within the Arab region and internationally, added Garin.
Quest Arabiya is commissioning new shows which will be developed, shot and produced in the MENA and fronted by regional presenters. Commenting on the partnership with Image Nation, James Gibbons, SVP & Country Manager Emerging Business at Discovery Europe, said that Quest Arabiya is Discoverys free-to-air offering in the region. The brand also exists in the UK.
Our offerings are mainly paid, but we also have free-to-air models in our network. The Quest brand already exists in the UK as a free-to-air channel, but our partnership in every region is unique.
Amanda Turnbull, Vice President, Country Manager at Discovery Communications, added that the channel complements the existing Fatafeat channel in the region.
Through this partnership we intend to use the vast library of Discovery. Our content will always premiere on pay channels first and then go to the free-to-air channels. Image Nation lends us the production capacity to create original programming that will run here and on Discovery Networks platforms around the world.
There is enormous scope for original programming in the region. In addition to the education angle, our programmes also provide a human interest angle.
We see this channel as an interesting starting point to fill the gap in the market for great stories coming from this region and travelling to the world outside, she said.