- Free-to-air ‘Quest Arabiya’ to broadcast factual shows aimed at Arab male audience
- Commitment to air locally-produced content means boost to regional TV production industry
Abu Dhabi, June 2, 2015: Image Nation has partnered with Discovery Communications, the world’s number one pay TV programmer, to create and launch a new Arabic language TV channel for the Middle East and North Africa. ‘Quest Arabiya’ will be free-to-air and will go live in the final quarter of 2015.
The channel, whose focus is male-oriented factual and reality programmes, will be a combination of locally-produced original material and Arabized content from Discovery’s vast library of non-fiction shows. Aimed primarily at Arab men aged 16-44, but with material that will appeal to the entire family, key programming genres will include adventure and survival, motoring, engineering, wildlife, history and people and places.
Quest Arabiya, which will be broadcasting 24 hours a day, will be headed up by Carl von Doussa, General Manager of Channels at Image Nation, who brings over 19 years of experience in television and digital markets in Europe and the Middle East. He is joined by a growing team, including Eeman Al Ansari, Programming Executive, and Khalid Khouri, Project Manager.
The venture highlights the growing importance of TV and digital media as platforms for original content and commissions in the Middle East, providing new opportunities for local talent and production companies to increase their output, while providing a host of new training and development opportunities in the media industry in the region.
The move means more stories from across the region will be brought to life through specially commissioned Quest Arabiya shows. And under the terms of the deal, Discovery Communications has the option to acquire Image Nation’s content for broadcast on its international channels, meaning the region’s stories have the potential to be told around the world.
A search has already begun for on-screen talent and production companies to pitch and produce shows centring on culture and lifestyle that reflect GCC and MENA customs and traditions.
“In partnering with Discovery to launch a new TV channel in the Middle East and North Africa, we are doing what Abu Dhabi does best – marrying world-class expertise with regional knowledge,” said Mohammed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation Abu Dhabi. “Quest Arabiya will provide a needed boost to the private media sector in the UAE as we will be commissioning more content than ever before and producing at the highest international standards.”
“Quest Arabiya will be a leading destination for men’s lifestyle entertainment in the Middle East”, said James Gibbons, EVP for Discovery’s Emerging Business. “Discovery’s global success
is based on building strong local teams and looking for new opportunities in key markets. We have a dedicated team based in the UAE and a track record of providing content and brands that meet viewer demands in the region for more than 16 years. Our partnership with Image Nation will help take our business to the next level, broaden the popularity of factual content and raise awareness of our seven channel brands in the region.”
The launch of Quest Arabiya will see Discovery grow and further localise its presence in the MENA TV market. Operating from a dedicated office in the UAE, the company currently offers an unrivalled portfolio of TV channels, which includes free-to-air Fatafeat, the #1 food network in the Middle East, as well as pay TV channels Discovery Channel HD, TLC HD, Animal Planet HD, Discovery Science HD, ID: Investigation Discovery and Discovery World, distributed on OSN.
Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation said: “Image Nation now has a proven track record of creating quality reality and factual programming, with an ever-growing slate of documentary feature films including He Named Me Malala directed by Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim and Polio documentary Every Last Child.
“For us, Quest Arabiya is a significant step into the area of TV, which provides more opportunity for regional industry professionals to make their mark. Quite simply, the platform means more opportunity for local content to air, more production and more jobs.
“Through Discovery’s international networks we also look forward to some great untold Middle Eastern stories reaching a huge audience across the world.”
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 pay-tv programmer reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries and territories. For 30 years Discovery has been dedicated to satisfying curiosity and entertaining viewers with high-quality content through its global television brands, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as U.S. joint venture network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Discovery controls Eurosport, the leading pan-regional sports entertainment destination across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools, including an award-winning series of K-12 digital textbooks, through Discovery Education, and a digital leader with a diversified online portfolio, including Discovery Digital Networks. In Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 16 Discovery brands reach 503 million cumulative subscribers in 108 countries and territories with programming customized in 21 languages. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
About Image Nation
Founded in 2008, Image Nation has become one of the leading content creators in the Middle East with the aim of building a sustainable film and television industry in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Image Nation fulfils four key commitments: Developing Emirati filmed entertainment; growing the local film and television industry through training and internship programs; supporting Abu Dhabi entities in creating content to meet strategic and marketing objectives; and co-producing an aggressive slate of international films through several strategic partnerships that help subsidize the cost of its local operations.
Image Nation’s slate includes Emirati produced feature films (From A to B, Sea Shadow), cause-driven documentaries (He Named Me Malala, Every Last Child), insightful television shows (Beyond Borders, Hayati Walaskariya) and award-winning international co-productions (The Help, Flight, 99 Homes). Through its content, Image Nation is creating opportunities for local talent to tell their stories and work on projects that provide them the tools to establish and sustain a local industry.