x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

So Farsi so good for Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation

News Corporation plans to launch two Farsi-language TV stations through its Dubai-based joint venture with a local media firm.

An Iranian woman, standing next to two satellite dishes. News Corporation plans to launch two Farsi-language TV stations through its Dubai-based joint venture with a local media firm. AFP PHOTO/Behrouz MEHRI
An Iranian woman, standing next to two satellite dishes. News Corporation plans to launch two Farsi-language TV stations through its Dubai-based joint venture with a local media firm. AFP PHOTO/Behrouz MEHRI

News Corporation plans to launch two Farsi-language satellite TV stations through a Dubai-based joint venture with a regional media firm.

Rupert Murdoch's media empire already has an interest in the Farsi1 television station, and will launch two additional channels targeting the Iranian market in the next few months.

The two new channels will be operated by Broadcast Middle East (BME), a joint venture between News Corporation and Moby Group, a media company with operations in Dubai and Afghanistan.

BME launched the Farsi1 channel in 2009, and plans to launch a second Farsi-language channel called 'Zemzemeh' - which means 'whisper' in English - in July.

"We've got the launch of Zemzemeh, which is our new channel. That's happening on the 9th of July," said Zaid Mohseni, the chief executive of BME. "The second channel is going to be a little more female-skewed than the first channel."

BME, which is based at Dubai Studio City, plans to launch another channel after Ramadan, bringing the total number of stations it operates to three.

Mr Mohseni said that the third station would be a Farsi-language version of a well-known TV station operated by another unit of News Corporation.

"There is another channel coming up," he said. "It's an internationally recognised brand... Targeting more of a male demographic. We're thinking [of launching it] before mid-September, subject to making sure that technically everything is available."

The Eutelsat W3A satellite will broadcast all three Farsi stations, beaming them across Iran and other parts of Asia, as well as Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Like the Farsi1 channel, the two new stations will be free-to-air, with revenues derived from advertising.

"We're targeting all the Farsi-speaking geographical areas. The biggest is Iran, followed by Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the UAE. These are some of the biggest markets we've got," said Mr Mohseni.

 

bflanagan@thenational.ae