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.”


US’ Mnuchin says talk about sanctions premature, will visit Riyadh to meet with counterpart

Updated 21 October 2018
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US’ Mnuchin says talk about sanctions premature, will visit Riyadh to meet with counterpart

JERUSALEM, Oct 21 : US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday it was premature to comment on possible US sanctions against Saudi Arabia for the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi until an investigation had been completed.
Mnuchin said information so far on the investigation was “a good first step but not enough” as Riyadh faced increasing international pressure over what happened to Khashoggi, who disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
US President Donald Trump, who has said the United States would consider sanctions against Saudi Arabia, emphasized on Saturday that he was not satisfied with the Saudis’ handling of the case.
“It would be premature to comment on sanctions and premature to comment on really any issues until we get further down the investigation and get to the bottom of what occurred,” Mnuchin told reporters in Jerusalem.
Mnuchin confirmed that he would not attend a Saudi investment conference on Tuesday. However, he said he would visit Riyadh as planned for talks with his counterpart on joint efforts to counter terrorist financing and plans by Washington to reimpose sanctions against Iran in November.
“I did not think it was appropriate to go and speak at this conference but we continue to have important issues with Saudi and that is why I am going there,” Mnuchin said.
The visit, he said, was necessary as Washington prepares to reimpose sanctions against Iran.
He said he had no reason to believe that Saudi Arabia would renege on commitments to make up for any shortfall in global oil supplies as Iranian oil exports are curbed under the sanctions.
“I have no reason to believe that they are not going to honor those commitments,” said Mnuchin, who will meet Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih while in Riyadh.