Fast-growing Middle East broadcasting group Rotana, where Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is a significant shareholder, is to launch a general entertainment channel specifically for the giant Egyptian market. Rotana is backed by Saudi billionaire Proince Alwaleed bin Talal.
The decision is a direct attack on Egypt’s state-backed Radio & Television Union (ERTU) cluster of channels. ERTU itself is recovering from a serios of scandals and allegations of corruption and mismanagement against its former senior staff, some of whom were jailed pending investigations of alleged corruption.
Moreover, the channel will feature Dr Hala Sarhan, president of Rotana Studios, and an extremely popular face on Egyptian TV.
Fahad Alsukait, CEO, Rotana Group, said: “The new channel further confirms our strong commitment to the Egyptian viewers and Rotana’s plans to expand its presence in Egypt.” He added: “We continue to believe in the strong market growth Egypt will enjoy medium to long term and our investment in the new channel is to express such confidence and fits with the business plan of the group.” He said the group has a very strong plan to expand its share in the market through multiple initiatives that will cover all our channels.
The launch of the new channel is part of that master plan for Rotana’s portfolio of channels, he added.
Turki Al Shabanah, vice president TV at Rotana, said: “I am delighted to lead such a project and work with the entire team in Rotana to make it a successful channel for the group.”He said the channel will be directed toward the Egyptian market and will have top rated programs, series and movies.