x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Fox reaches out to Arab women

Fox, which is part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire, says there is demand for more Arabic-dubbed channels in the region.

Technicians watch over television monitors and computer screens at Fox.
Technicians watch over television monitors and computer screens at Fox.

Fox International Channels is relaunching Fox Series in an attempt to appeal to Arabic-speaking women in the Mena region.

The TV broadcaster, which is part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire, plans to rename the channel Fox and will air western shows such as Glee, MasterChef Australia and Desperate Housewives dubbed entirely in Arabic.

While the current Fox Series channel is in English with Arabic subtitles, the rebranded Fox channel will have audio in two languages, said Rohit D'Silva, the general manager of Fox International Channels Middle East.

"It's going to be 100 per cent dubbed in Arabic and it's going to be targeted towards women," said Mr D'Silva. "The secondary audio will be English and you can switch."

The free-to-air channel launches today. "We have several new shows which we're bringing into the region for the first time on free TV. Glee dubbed in Arabic is going to be really something new," said Mr D'Silva.

He said there was demand from viewers and advertisers for more content dubbed in Arabic. "There's a huge difference between subtitling and dubbing," Mr D'Silva said. "We realised that there is the opportunity to reach out to significantly more audiences.

"If you look at markets across the world, when significant amounts of international programming is dubbed in local languages they've seen an increase in viewership and audience interest. I think the same thing will happen in the Middle East."

Other regional broadcasters also have channels dubbed in Arabic.

The pay-TV operator Orbit Showtime Network broadcasts OSN Shasha, which carries Hollywood films and series dubbed in Arabic.

"It is obvious that there is a market in the Middle East for dubbing," said Khulud Abu Homos, the senior vice president of programming and creative services at OSN.

"It's a big investment but I think it's an industry that will pick up in the Middle East."

Fox International Channels broadcasts 12 channels in the Mena region, including Fox Movies, Fox Series and Star World.

It also produces the National Geographic Abu Dhabi channel, dubbed in Arabic, through a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Media Company, which owns and publishes The National.

Mr D'Silva said Fox would launch more entertainment channels in the Mena region this year, although he declined to specify what they might be.