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MBC taps Antenna’s Smith for studio role

Middle Eastern broadcaster MBC Group has launched a studio arm to be headed by former Cineflix Studios MD and NBCUniversal president Peter Smith.

Peter Smith

MBC Studios will focus on premium content tailored to Saudi, Middle Eastern and other audiences and will draw on the company’s production assets: O3 Productions in MENA, AlSadaf in Saudi Arabia and O3 Medya in Turkey.

Smith, who joined MBC Group as MD of MBC Studios this month, had previously been director of Antenna Group in Greece since 2014.

The launch of MBC Studios, which will produce film and TV drama series, is part of the company’s five-year growth plan, led by MBC Group chairman Waleed Al-Ibrahim.

The firm said it is tapping into a “significant increase in demand for non-English-language TV content to be distributed to more global markets.”

“Due to the existence of an untapped story reservoir in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East across all genres of content, MBC Studios will take the initiative to produce the region’s most compelling stories for cinema, television and on-demand platforms,” said MBC Group.

The firm added that it aims to contribute to the growth of the film and television industry in Saudi Arabia and MENA, as well as help accelerate the recruitment of local Saudi and Middle Eastern talent in various content industries.

“Content is the fuel that drives the success of both MBC television and Shahid.net, our VoD platform. Building on the group’s successes in drama, we are now expanding our ambition and widening our horizons yet further,” said MBC Group CEO Sam Barnett.

“The future is certainly positive for MBC Studios, especially in terms of leveraging the significant trend for non-English-language television content to travel to more global markets,” added Smith.

MBC Group said it will release more information about the specific projects undertaken by MBC Studios “as they progress in the coming months.”

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