The shocking move has come a couple of months before Ramadan plunging the industry into uncertainty over investing in popular Turkish TV content.
In a development that took the industry by surprise, Saudi-owned broadcaster MBC Group that is based in Dubai received instructions to remove Turkish programming from all of its channels, including Egypts MBC Masr, until further notice, as reported by The National.
The decision has affected six shows, including the period drama Antah Watani (You Are My Nation).
As reported by The National, the MBC Group spokesman Mazen Hayek would not comment on who was behind the decision or whether it came from inside or outside of the company.
This is a decision that concerns several media outlets in many Arab countries that Turkish dramas are to be taken off air, including MBC, Hayek is quoted as saying. That was from 1am Saudi Arabian time on March 2.
The move, a couple of months before Ramadan has plunged the industry into uncertainty over investing in popular Turkish TV content. As per audience measurement statistics revealed by Dr. Riyadh Najm, CEO of the Saudi Media Measurement Company (SMCC) at the recently concluded DISCOP Dubai, Turkish drama series were the most viewed programmes followed by GCC and Indian content in Saudi Arabia.
There is still doubt as to whether the instructions to MBC were Gulf-wide and applicable to all channels. As per media reports, Turkish dramas continue to be aired on Dubai TV and online streaming service Netflix is also featuring several Turkish programmes. It has, however, come to our notice that a big Turkish drama deal with a state broadcaster did not go through two months ago owing to instructions from the management.
The sudden removal of Turkish dramas from MBC over the past few days is set to continue for the foreseeable future and is likely to impact the Group significantly.