New television channel SBC to focus on Saudi and Arab drama

An employee works with trainees at the studio of the new channel Saudi Broadcasting Corporation "SBC" in Riyadh, on April 24, 2018. Fitting into Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's bold reformist drive and branded the channel aims to appeal to young people and project a modern vision beyond Saudi Arabia's borders, with exclusive content including films, talk shows and cooking programmes. (AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE)
Updated 14 May 2018
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New television channel SBC to focus on Saudi and Arab drama

  • The Saudi Broadcasting Corp. channel SBC will promote drama and art productions featuring leading Arab actors and directors.
  • Saudi actors, filmmakers, producers and writers had proven their talent worldwide, but lacked appreciation from the Saudi Broadcasting Corp. in the past., says SBC President Dawood Al-Shirian.

RIYADH: A new television channel to be launched in the Kingdom during Ramadan will specialize in Saudi and Arab drama.

The Saudi Broadcasting Corp. channel SBC will promote drama and art productions featuring leading Arab actors and directors.

Shows and specialist programs will also focus on religion, family, sports, and general entertainment.

The launch of the channel will help lay the foundation for a solid media and film industry in the Kingdom, Dawood Al-Shirian, president of the Saudi Broadcasting Corp., told Arab News. 

“It has been a challenge. Launching a new channel might take a year and half. However, we have done the work in just five months,” Al-Shirian said.

“We did not want to just promise, we wanted to build a relationship of trust and transparency between us, the viewers and investors. The change never happens overnight, but we have already started to satisfy viewers and show investors the huge investment opportunities we have,” he said. 

Al-Shirian added that the SBC management had a “new mindset and mentality that reflects the transition the Kingdom is undergoing politically, economically, and technologically. 

“We are aiming to raise the viewership rate over the entire Arab world. We are spending in areas that have been neglected, such as production, supporting youth, content development and attracting advertising.”

Al-Shirian said Saudi actors, filmmakers, producers and writers had proven their talent worldwide, but lacked appreciation from the Saudi Broadcasting Corp. in the past.

“We will attract talented Saudis and qualified youth to make use of our national capabilities. We will also utilize the capabilities of students who have studied abroad,” he said.

In the past, Saudi film investors had been forced to look outside the Kingdom for production opportunities.

“However, the return of cinema has paved the way for strong investment opportunities in film that will lead to better investments in all media sectors.

“We have met with Saudi and foreign investors to create partnerships. We will turn the Saudi Broadcasting Corp. into a mutually beneficial business,” Al-Shirian said.

“We are working with media leaders to make partnerships. We will never settle for less than international benchmarks.”


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.