The MBC Group, the biggest broadcaster in the Middle East and North Africa, said it will open an in-house commercial advertising and sales unit as part of its commercial growth strategy.
The Saudi Arabia-owned broadcaster will launch the MBC Media Services unit in partnership with Engineer Holding Group (‘EHG’), a media and investment group which owns Al Arabia, an outdoor advertising business in the kingdom, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
MBC Media Services will be majority-owned by the MBC Group and will begin operations at the start of 2021, the company said.
"Our new joint venture with EHG and the launch of MBC Media Services, will enable the company to develop cross-media solutions for our clients and deepen the way we combine our television and digital audiences," Marc Antoine d’Halluin, chief executive of MBC Group, said.
The move will allow the MBC Group to work more closely with its clients, which include global consumer brands, their marketing and advertising companies and media buyers.
With the launch of its new in-house unit, MBC will no longer outsource its advertising and sales business from January 2021, the company said. This is after its current five-year contract with Arabian Media Services, a Choueiri Group company, ends this year.
“We look forward to pooling our capabilities to better serve our society, our clients and the advertising industry," Abdulelah Al-Khereiji, founder and chairman of EHG, said.
The media industry has witnessed major changes over the past two decades, driven by technological advancements and consumers' use of social media platforms and mobile devices, Waleed Al Ibrahim, chairman of MBC Group, said.
"We want to move faster to address these market forces and by establishing our own dedicated in-house commercial business unit we will be able to offer better integrated solutions across our television, digital and OTT [over-the-top streaming media] platforms," he said.
In March, the MBC Group offered new users free VIP subscriptions to its streaming service platform, Shahid. The group cited the outbreak of the coronavirus and the directives in the region to remain indoors as the reason behind its decision.
In February, the Dubai-based company signed an agreement to set up new headquarters in Riyadh and plans to begin operations from Saudi Arabia’s capital within five years. The new headquarters will be based at Riyadh’s Media City project.
MBC Group, currently headquartered in Dubai, offers a variety of TV and broadcast channels to an audience of 180 million viewers across the Middle East and North Africa, as well as online platforms offering content ranging from news to entertainment. It owns news channels like Al Hadath, Al Arabiya and Al Arabiya English.