MBC3 offers round the clock TV

The Middle East Broadcasting Corporation’s Arabic language children’s channel, MBC3, is to broadcast 24 hours a day from June 15.

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By  Tim Addington Published  May 29, 2005

The Middle East Broadcasting Corporation’s Arabic language children’s channel, MBC3, is to broadcast 24 hours a day from June 15. The station, which only began operations in December last year, has decided to go around the clock following demand from viewers who wanted longer transmission times. Michel Costandi, business development director at MBC, said increased ad revenue was not the main motivation behind the move, although the channel was expecting to see a return on its investment due to the extra broadcast time. “The launch of MBC3 was a runaway success and we quickly realised from parents and children’s feedback that they wanted us to extend the viewing hours,” said Costandi. “With regard to increased advertising, it is not our main concern. We will not be looking at getting increased ad revenue in the early hours of the morning, for example, but do expect to see revenue growth as a result of the increased offering.” Currently, MBC3 begins transmission at around 5am and closes at 9.30pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends (KSA time). Its programmes include Barney, Bob the Builder, Wicked Science and Even Stevens, which are dubbed into Arabic. “We are going to give them [the viewers] the same mix of popular programmes and live shows that run throughout the day. We are not going to buy new shows,” said Costandi, adding that a new male presenter had, however, been hired to provide extra live content to the channel. The network will evaluate the move to 24 hour broadcasting for MBC3 at the end of the summer, before a final decision is made on whether to extend it indefinitely. “If we think it is not the right offering of entertainment and education, then we will revert to the current broadcasting arrangements. Our main priority is to make sure those children have access to the programmes they want to watch, but it should not be detrimental to their studies,” Constandi said. Over the last six months, the network has introduced MBC4, a 24-hour English language channel and reassigned MBC2 as a 24 hours western movie channel. It has also realigned its channels on the ArabSat and NileSat satellites to make it easier for viewers to select MBC channels.

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