The next Scooby-Doo! or Ben 10 could be made in the Middle East following the launch of an animation studio in Abu Dhabi.
The Cartoon Network, which is part of the US media giant Time Warner, says its studio in the capital's twofour54 media zone will be fully operational in September.
Adam Khwaja, the newly appointed creative director at Cartoon Network Studios Arabia, said the studio would create animations with a regional flavour, in Arabic and other languages. "We want to make content that reflects the cultural values of the region," said Mr Khwaja. "There is a great storytelling tradition here Ö And that's the kind of thing that we want to bring into a contemporary cartoon world."
He said creating a children's show with global appeal would be an ambition of the new studio, but not the primary concern. "The icing on the cake would be if it becomes a global brand as well," he said.
The studio will initially employ four dedicated staff, rising to 30 during the production of shows.
Mr Khwaja said the studio was currently developing concepts for its first series. "We're looking at going into production with at least one next year. It depends on how good the concepts are," he said. "They take between 18 and 24 months generally speaking."
The Cartoon Network is part of Turner Broadcasting System, a unit of Time Warner. An Arabic version of Cartoon Network was launched last October, and is broadcast across the Middle East and North Africa on free-to-air satellite TV. The English-language version is broadcast on pay-TV networks.
The Cartoon Network Animation Academy, which was launched in collaboration with twofour54, will feed the new studio with aspiring animators, said Alan Musa, the general manager and vice president for the Middle East and Africa at Turner Broadcasting System Arabia. "Abu Dhabi's twofour54 is becoming a real creative, innovative hub," said Mr Musa. "Maybe we can find the next Joe Barbera or the next William Hanna from the Middle East," he added, in reference to the American animators behind the original Scooby-Doo.
The company has already formed collaborations with Lammtara, the studio behind the popular series Freej, and production company Rubicon Group, based in Jordan, which creates children's shows such as Ben & Izzy.
Mr Musa said the new studio would be used to create Cartoon Network's own shows and franchises, as well as for co-productions with other media companies.