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MBC hires Hulu alum, unveils originals plan

Middle Eastern broadcaster MBC Group is launching a content strand called Shahid Originals and has hired a former Hulu executive as part of a ramping up of its digital services.

Johannes Larcher

The Dubai-based company is prioritising the growth of its streaming services – VoD platform Shahid and digital platform Shahid+ – over the next five years, which includes funding original productions.

Johannes Larcher has joined MBC Group as MD of digital and VoD websites to oversee the plans and will be responsible for enhancing the firm’s entire digital offering.

He will aim to improve the Shahid service in the MENA region and will also oversee global content acquisitions, product and technology investment and partnerships with other companies.

Larcher was previously CEO and co-founder of SubVRsive, a virtual and augmented realty content production start-up funded by WPP. Previously, he also served as senior VP of international at US streamer Hulu, where he oversaw all of the firm’s activities outside the US, and acted as strategic advisor and interim CEO for broadcasters around the world.

Sam Barnett, MBC Group’s CEO, said: “Johannes joins us to lead the next stage in our development plan for Shahid. We are already a destination for the best Arabic content. Now our challenge is to boost the volume of premium video content both from MBC Studios and further afield, to upgrade our technology and to extend our distribution.”

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