MBC boss says Arabic TV shows too expensive

Sheikh Walid Al-Ibrahim, chairman of The Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) Group, has warned that the exaggerated prices of Arabic TV serial programmes is pushing broadcasters to buy up non-Arab alternatives instead.

Al-Ibrahim said that Arab soap operas, particularly those with Arab celebrities, are grossly overpriced, reported Al-Arabiya News on Wednesday.

"I am delivering a straightforward message to Arab producers and telling them that if they insist on these exaggerated prices, MBC will take the initiative and look for substitutes," Al-Ibrahim said in an interview with weekly Arabic magazine, Laha ('For Her').

These alternatives included Turkish and Mexican soap operas dubbed in Arabic, which the channel has already bought and which have proven to be popular with Arab viewers.

"Audience ratings for the Turkish soap Sanawat Al-Dayaa ['Years of Loss'] are higher than the Egyptian series, which are sometimes produced for purely commercial reasons and are written and shot hastily, undoubtedly affecting the quality," Al-Ibrahim said.

"The Turkish series, on the other hand, has a well-knit plot that attracts the audience," he said.

MBC runs a mixture of news and entertainment channels like Al-Arabiya News, and is headquartered in Dubai Media City, UAE.

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