“Shahid” replaces competition with alliances to confront the global “whales”.

The “Shahid” platform for broadcasting on the Internet has succeeded in establishing itself as the most prominent and largest provider of original Arabic content to the audience on digital platforms, by switching to a single Arabic platform, by closing down extensive agreements, the most recent of which was with “SBC”, and previous similar agreements with the “Rotana” channel and Al Sharq News.

These steps come as part of efforts led by the media giant to unite the Arab TV content industry, at a time when the region is awaiting the entry of global competitors, as indicated by the chairman of the board of MBC Group. , “Walid Al Ibrahim,” (Shahid) seeks to unite Arab efforts by leading the world’s biggest players to the region, such as (Disney), (Netflix), (Apple TV), (Amazon) and others, offer.

Al Ibrahim explained: “We can not compete with the main platforms as long as the platforms of the Arab countries are separate islands, and each has an independent platform.”

Shahid expects 7 million subscribers in 2026

“Shahid” bets on his knowledge of the Arab audience more than others, which is an extension of the “MBC” channels that have reached every Arab house for more than three decades.

Sam Barnett, CEO of the group, said that “competition with platforms is not impossible given the superiority of the Arab platform in content in the language of Dhad.” Natasha Matos Hemingway, Head of Commerce and Marketing at Shahid, said: “Our long experience in the region and our familiarity with content consumption patterns have enabled us to provide unparalleled viewing and user experiences for the audience, in the context of our relentless strive to be above the viewer’s priorities and choices. ” .

“With that in mind, we are currently building groundbreaking partnerships with major brands around the world, whether in the drama, entertainment, sports, news and other sectors,” Hemingway added.

The size of Shahid’s subscriber base is expected to reach seven million by 2026, according to what the Arab media giant announced.

According to research done and published by Dataxis, a media study company, the Arab market for online streaming in the Middle East and North Africa saw a rapid increase of more than 30% in the number of subscribers between 2020 and 2021, reaching has about 10 million users in 18 countries.

A remarkable increase in this trend of content consumption patterns is expected over the next five years, as the number of subscribers is expected to triple by 2026 to reach around 30 million subscribers.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries make up the largest percentage of online streaming users, with nearly three million subscribers in Saudi Arabia, and more than two million subscribers in the UAE.

“Rotana” and “Al Sharq”

The agreement with “SBC” and the content of its “Al-Oula” platform was not the first of its kind. Similar agreements have been signed with the “Rotana” group, one of its biggest competitors in the region. The agreement included the addition of Rotana TV channels to the “Shahid VIP” platform. Provide the best TV content on demand from Rotana so subscribers can watch it anytime, anywhere in the region.

It also signed with “Al Sharq News” to get a selection of its programs and thus join the diverse content broadcast by the platform for some of the most prominent Arabic channels, most watched in the region.

This collaboration was an addition to the platform’s portfolio, as Al Sharq News is a unique brand specializing in news, current affairs and financial market analysis and business.

Bad luck hits Netflix

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It comes at a time when “accident” is hitting the global “Netflix” platform, which has its eye on the region’s cake, as it announced the loss of a quarter of its market value and tens of billions in one session after its shares have evaporated. declined due to fears of subscriber growth, after losing 200,000 subscribers in Just three months since the year 2022 began, while expecting to lose another two million subscribers, while at the same time the latest analytical research for the future of online streaming for Dataxis, a world leader in the smart business and media sector, revealed that the “Shahid” platform is completing a steady course of steady growth, while maintaining its leading position in the online streaming service in the Middle East and North -Africa retained.

Where it exceeded 2021 last year, “two million subscribers”, with an expectation of this number to reach around three million by the end of the current year 2022, according to “Dataxis”.

Tough competition with Netflix

Despite the major updates of the “MBC” group through its digital platforms, it is still difficult and elusive to remove “Netflix” from its throne, as the number of subscribers to the US website reaches nearly 222 million customers around the world has for its streaming activity in the field of live broadcasting over the Internet. .

How does the Shahid platform want to compete with global platforms by switching to a single Arab platform? In this regard, the information technology and social media specialist Abdulaziz Al-Shakra indicated that the superiority of “Netflix” is due to the fact that it is “a global company that has contracts with major film and television producers in the world, while (Shahid) remains an Arab platform, but he saw it as an advantage that could give it distinction. ahead of its international competitors in terms of rich Arab content and knowledge of the recipient. “

Al-Shakrah called on “Shahid” to change its commercial method by producing private works while opening the doors to international production companies, and to set up special programs that are more far from a television archive. be, while the offered product is diversified to all Arab productions, warns that if Netflix tends to increase its investments in content Al-Arabi will represent a major danger to the platform.

Artist and director Khaled Amin believes that digital is bringing traditional television to retirement, and if these channels cannot contain the younger generations, they will face a major crisis.

He stressed that Shahid should work on presenting works from her own productions that meet the aspirations of young people away from traditional and stereotypical, so that she’s the works of “Netflix” and his sisters, who are very much “contrary to customs and traditions. can defy. “

Netflix focuses on all languages

Filmmaker Mohamed Anwar attributed the reason for the large number of “Netflix” subscribers to his focus on all international languages, and the presentation of documentaries to a large audience, and that the level of movies on the American platform is much higher as “Shahid”. ”, Which meets the requirements of the Arab viewer who prefers foreign films.

He suggested that the organizers of the Arab platform invest more in technology, conduct specialized research, find out what the viewer wants, and monitor his cinematic and dramatic tendencies to provide content that enables him to see the successes of ” Netflix “in the Arab Region.

International film shooting

In addition to acquiring most of the local and Arabic content and making agreements to be the only Arabic platform, the MBC Group is working to increase film and television production, as it is scheduled to cover a large group of major projects. undertake what is currently being prepared.

The general manager of the group’s studios, Zainab Abu Al-Samh, indicated that the institution has nearly 20 television and film projects in various stages, and looks forward to the green light to produce at least some of them within the next 18 months.

The MBC Group, represented in its production studio, in collaboration with the international production companies JB Pictures and AGC StudiosK, is working on the filming of a work in Saudi Arabia’s Neom for the Battle of Dhi Qar, and has an amount of 140 million dollars awarded to compete with the work worldwide.He also envisioned another great work entitled “Kandahar” with Gerard Butler, who tells the story of American intelligence in Afghanistan, and MBC is also involved in its production.

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