JEDDAH: RIMA AL-MUKHTAR
Published — Tuesday 30 July 2013
Last update 12 August 2013 10:30 am
Ramadan television series have always divided Saudi society, with some saying the shows distract them from worshiping while others saying they are the only entertainment they get during the month.
“I don’t see the reason behind airing so many TV series during the holy month of Ramadan. Isn’t Ramadan supposed to be a time when people get closer to Allah and clean their souls from all sins?” wondered school teacher Hanan Fahmi.
“I was raised by a religious family who taught me that Ramadan is supposed to be spent reading the Holy Qur’an and praying the whole time; there is no time for entertainment shows because we have to be focused on our main goal that is of maximum worship,” she added.
Technology is getting in the way of quality family time. “We are all distracted due to our smart phones, laptops and iPads. Ramadan is ideally when we get closer to each other and spend more time together,” said Hessa Al-Qahtani, a stay-at-home mother. “It breaks my heart to see all my children busy with their iPhones and iPads and the only thing that makes them come together and put their phones down is an interesting TV series. If this is the only way where we can have family time then so be it, I will sit with them and spend as much time as it takes to hang out with my children,” she added.
Teenagers find Ramadan series the best tele soaps aired in the entire year. “They always find the finest content for the high season, which is Ramadan in our case. This is why sometimes you are forced to watch them all and we end up sitting in front of the TV the whole day,” said Joury Abdulmajeed, college student. “My mother keeps telling me I have to stop this habit but it’s my vacation and I need to have some fun. During my school days I don’t generally watch TV and I’m focused on my studies,” she added.
Saudi youth are more driven to TV shows that spread awareness about good deeds. “I have been watching Khawater by Ahmed Shugairi for years now and I have to admit that the show has improved the way I look at things and it has improved my personality,” said Eman Jamid, college student. “This year there are other great TV shows that target youth. It is important for everyone to watch them to be able to benefit from the tips provided in the show,” she added.
David Butorac, CEO of OSN, said earlier in an interview with Arab News that TV viewership increases in the holy month of Ramadan and that is why networks tend to advertise their special programs in advance. “As a subscription driven service, we recognize the power of that platform and so strive for providing good content on OSN and other networks,” he said. “One of the great strengths of this platform is that we facilitate consumers to record hundreds of hours of their favorite shows and watch them when they want. So no longer is the consumer driven by what the television channel tells them, that they have to watch the program,” he added.