MTV Networks International (MTVNI), a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), and twofour54, the Arab world’s premier centre for content creation, today announced a multi-year partnership to launch Comedy Central Studios Arabia.
Headquartered in twofour54’s offices in Abu Dhabi, Comedy Central Studios Arabia will develop and produce comedy content in Arabic for broadcast and distribution across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and beyond. It will focus on innovative, original productions covering the full spectrum of the genre, from stand-up, to sketch shows, to sitcoms, aimed primarily at 18-49 year old Arab audiences. The new venture will also draw upon Comedy Central’s rich library of international formats to produce localised versions for the Arabic market.
Speaking about the new venture, Tony Orsten, CEO, twofour54 said: “We are thrilled to be working with MTVNI on this venture. There is so much untapped creative potential in the region and this partnership will go a long way in helping to create an Arabic comedy industry.” He continues, “From individual stand-up talent right through to major comic productions, Comedy Central Studios Arabia will provide an opportunity for Arabic comics and comedy programming talent that simply never existed before. It is this type of partnership with trusted international brand names that forms such an important part of the media ecosystem we are building at twofour54. This ecosystem provides enormous benefit to the Arab world.”
Bhavneet Singh, Managing Director and Executive Vice President, Emerging Markets, MTVNI added: “IPSOS research shows that there is a significant appetite for local comedy content in the Middle East. Nearly 500 comedy episodes are aired across the MENA region every month, the majority of which are original Arabic productions, and this number almost doubles during the month of Ramadan; Comedy Central is currently seen by 164m households in 21 territories around the world. We feel that this desire for Arabic comedy content, combined with the globally renowned Comedy Central brand, portfolio and know-how, affords us an opportunity to provide viewers and broadcasters alike with content that is relevant and funny to Arabs, in their own language. Working together with twofour54, we aim to make Abu Dhabi the home of Arabic comedy production.”
Comedy Central Studios Arabia will look to build a pool of Arabic comedians and comedy programming talent. The new venture will leverage MTVNI’s international media expertise, brand and formats along with twofour54’s regional knowledge to support and produce Arabic comedy. Using the production, post production and broadcast facilities at twofour54 intaj, the new studios will be well equipped to deliver high quality content for the region.
In addition, this initiative will create numerous training and development opportunities through internships to provide young people from the region with a passion for comedy the chance to pursue a successful career in the industry.
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