MBC agrees sponsorship deals

The Middle East’s largest satellite TV network has signed a series of slot sponsorships for film channel MBC 2 and entertainment channel MBC 4, Campaign can reveal.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  March 19, 2006

The Middle East’s largest satellite TV network has signed a series of slot sponsorships for film channel MBC 2 and entertainment channel MBC 4, Campaign can reveal. Among the new signings are two for American talkshow host Oprah on MBC 4, with Philadelphia and Safi Danone, both signing on for six months. MBC director of channels Tim Riordan, told Campaign that despite fragmenting TV audiences, certain programmes are still delivering big audiences for advertisers and sponsors. He said: “Oprah is transmitted at 9pm KSA time, which is a very competitive time because that’s when the maximum audience is available, but it is doing very well.” And the Dubai-based broadcaster, which commands massive audiences across the Middle East and particularly in Saudi Arabia, has also now signed up sponsors for every prime time slot for its MBC 2 movie offerings. MBC 2 is one of the world’s few free-to-air film channels showing new movies. New sponsors include the Nescafè My Cup Movie strand, which started last week, the Moussy Action Movie which began earlier this month and the Police Blockbuster which starts on 6 April. And several sponsors have renewed for another year, including the Mobil1 Power Movie, the Ford Premiere, the Bounty Romance Movie and Barbican Movie Club. Barbican’s sponsorship also extends to the late night Sports Movie and Kung Fu Movie, which is also previewed on the group’s radio station MBC FM. The broadcaster now has deals with virtually every American studio, which will see MBC 2 able to show most blockbusters. Riordan revealed: “We’ve just agreed a very large deal with Disney.” The channel has also bought Oscar winner Crash and Oscars nominee Good Night and Good Luck. Meanwhile, MBC 4’s forthcoming line-up is to include the first free-to-air broadcast of US hits such as Lost and Grey’s Anatomy. And for its first episode of the Steven Spielberg mini series Taken, which starts next month, the show will be simulcast on both MBC 2 and MBC 4 in a bid to build audience before the rest of the series is shown on MBC 4. The same tactic will also be adopted for the launch of its new regionally produced reality series Safari, which launches in April and takes a group of Arab youngsters to Africa. The first episode will be aired on both MBC 1 and children’s channel MBC 3. And MBC is also to push into the African advertising market from next month, with the launch of a three-hour time delayed broadcast of its flagship Arabic language channel MBC 1 on the Hotbird satellite. MBC’s combined audience reach is more than 60 million across the Middle East region, according to data from Ipsos-Stat.

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