Viacom to invest in Arabic content and production



The American media giant behind MTV and Nickelodeon plans to invest in Arabic content as it looks to grow its presence in the Middle East.

Viacom, which is listed on the Nasdaq exchange, says local productions and events centered around its brands in this region are both in the pipeline.

"We're looking over time to have a more substantial position in the Middle East, like we do in most other parts of the world," said Robert Bakish, the chief executive of Viacom International Media Networks.

"It is about building an entity that can produce more original programming for the region and events for the region. Investment will be part of it," he added. "From a consumer demographic perspective, there is great potential here."

Viacom currently runs a feed of the music station MTV Arabia in this region, and its children's station Nickelodeon is available locally.

But Mr Bakish said Viacom was looking to increase local productions, which could include Arabic versions of popular MTV formats such as Cribs.

"We're not where we want to be in the Middle East … We're not at a place where we operate a bouquet of services, where we have a substantial revenue stream, where we're able to create critical mass of localised programming, which is very much where we want to get to. And over time, we're confident that we will get there."

The Arab Media Group, based in Dubai, previously ran the stations MTV Arabia and Nickelodeon Arabia in the region. Mr Bakish said these brands had now been taken back under the control of Viacom.

"That's something that the [global finanical] crisis hit particularly hard. So we took the brands back, and we operate at 24-hour feed that we own," he said.

This could also include the launch of other stations in the region. "We don't have a feed of Comedy Central in the Middle East. It's fair to say that we aspire to do that," said Mr Bakish.

This year, MTV India launched in the Middle East, where it is now being beamed to more than 150,000 homes. That station is run by IndiaCast, a joint venture between TV18 and Viacom18, which is linked to Viacom.

Viacom also disclosed findings of a survey on the "millennial" youth generation in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It was the first time Middle Eastern countries had been included in the report.

All The Light We Cannot See

Creator: Steven Knight

Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Hugh Laurie, Aria Mia Loberti

Rating: 1/5 

UAE jiu-jitsu squad

Men: Hamad Nawad and Khalid Al Balushi (56kg), Omar Al Fadhli and Saeed Al Mazroui (62kg), Taleb Al Kirbi and Humaid Al Kaabi (69kg), Mohammed Al Qubaisi and Saud Al Hammadi (70kg), Khalfan Belhol and Mohammad Haitham Radhi (85kg), Faisal Al Ketbi and Zayed Al Kaabi (94kg)

Women: Wadima Al Yafei and Mahra Al Hanaei (49kg), Bashayer Al Matrooshi and Hessa Al Shamsi (62kg)

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Moving Out 2

Developer: SMG Studio
Publisher: Team17
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 4/5

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MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

When: April 25, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 1, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

UAE SQUAD

Jemma Eley, Maria Michailidou, Molly Fuller, Chloe Andrews (of Dubai College), Eliza Petricola, Holly Guerin, Yasmin Craig, Caitlin Gowdy (Dubai English Speaking College), Claire Janssen, Cristiana Morall (Jumeirah English Speaking School), Tessa Mies (Jebel Ali School), Mila Morgan (Cranleigh Abu Dhabi).

England World Cup squad

Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wkt), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Gran Gala del Calcio 2019 winners

Best Player: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Best Coach: Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta)
Best Referee: Gianluca Rocchi
Best Goal: Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria vs Napoli)
Best Team: Atalanta​​​​​​​
Best XI: Samir Handanovic (Inter); Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Joao Cancelo (Juventus*); Miralem Pjanic (Juventus), Josip Ilicic (Atalanta), Nicolo Barella (Cagliari*); Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Duvan Zapata (Atalanta)
Serie B Best Young Player: Sandro Tonali (Brescia)
Best Women’s Goal: Thaisa (Milan vs Juventus)
Best Women’s Player: Manuela Giugliano (Milan)
Best Women’s XI: Laura Giuliani (Milan); Alia Guagni (Fiorentina), Sara Gama (Juventus), Cecilia Salvai (Juventus), Elisa Bartoli (Roma); Aurora Galli (Juventus), Manuela Giugliano (Roma), Valentina Cernoia (Juventus); Valentina Giacinti (Milan), Ilaria Mauro (Fiorentina), Barbara Bonansea (Juventus)

How the bonus system works

The two riders are among several riders in the UAE to receive the top payment of £10,000 under the Thank You Fund of £16 million (Dh80m), which was announced in conjunction with Deliveroo's £8 billion (Dh40bn) stock market listing earlier this year.

The £10,000 (Dh50,000) payment is made to those riders who have completed the highest number of orders in each market.

There are also riders who will receive payments of £1,000 (Dh5,000) and £500 (Dh2,500).

All riders who have worked with Deliveroo for at least one year and completed 2,000 orders will receive £200 (Dh1,000), the company said when it announced the scheme.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)