MTV Arabia

MTV Arabia was launched in the GCC region quite recently in November of 2007, it is the newest addition to the MTV networks. As a Free to air channel it has been a huge success, not surprising given that almost every GCC nation has large youth populations that lack representation and something of their own.

The channel has been very sensitive to the region, Isreal doesn't exist as a nation when signing up on their website, raunchy videos are not screened at all, the channel had a complete music blackout during the month of Ramadan, various graphics always try and include kids in traditional islamic or arab dress.  

It has been interesting to watch this channel launch and more importantly try to appeal through branding and promos to a society that is clashing with the modern and ancient, between young and old at the same time always appealing to an Arab cultural background. I think they have done an outstanding job via their promos.


This promo is of an Oud player losing it while in the middle of a very classical type of performance much of the middle east would have seen in the past. Taking the old and remixing it with the modern, a theme alot of these promos follow.

This is the same case in this following promo, Dabkeh, an arab like dance performance that gets jazzed up through modern twists.

The following is the funniest and most relational to arab life, the typical scenario of trying to impress girls by performing stunts via cars or any means, and finally ending with a vain attempt to exchange numbers. This acutally is how its mostly done in the middle east given the social norm of not having men and women freely associate, applicable most of all to Saudi Arabia.

Lebanese dudes chilling at a street corner snacking on pumpkin seeds, another cultural stereotype that identifies the channels audience perfectly. I love the bit where he harasses the girl and she smacks him.

The launch of MTV Arabia is a good step in the passive acuturilization this region is going through in the long run. The plan of the channel is to foster a growing hip hop and r&b scene locally something not at all covered by the other music stations in the middle east most of which transmit a very commercial and old style of music.

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