MBC group partners with Disney, Fox and Spotify for exclusive content on streaming platform ‘Shahid’

Managing Director of Digital and VOD at MBC Group, Johannes Larcher, said that the platform outperforms all regional players in the digital entertainment sector today. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 January 2020

MBC group partners with Disney, Fox and Spotify for exclusive content on streaming platform ‘Shahid’

  • Shahid will feature 3,000 hours of content form entertainment companies Disney and Fox
  • The streaming platform, first launched in 2010, will also offer original content

DUBAI: The Middle East’s giant broadcasting group, MBC, has unveiled its latest upgrades to its streaming platform, Shahid on Wednesday as the group partners with Disney, Fox and Spotify for exclusive content.

Shahid will feature 3,000 hours of content form entertainment companies Disney and Fox. MBC said that further details of the partnership with global music streaming platform Spotify will be announced at a later date. 

Shahid, which was the Arab world’s first video on demand platform launched in 2010, will also offer original content that will feature regional productions, and exclusives movies and television programs, it was revealed during an exclusive event at the Dubai Opera.

“Secondly, we’re immensely proud to provide the region with an advanced digital platform that is on par with the best in the world. Shahid is a global brand that is worth watching,” MBC Group Chairman Waleed Al-Ibrahim said in his opening speech.




MBC Group Chairman Waleed Al-Ibrahim during his opening speech at the Dubai Opera during the re-launch of Shahid. (Supplied)

“As we look ahead, we strive to take control of our own narratives, showcasing our stories to the rest of the world through the very best in original films, series, and other media content, produced and marketed via MBC Studios,” he added.

Managing Director of Digital and VOD at MBC Group, Johannes Larcher, said that the platform outperforms all regional players in the digital entertainment sector today.

To coincide with the announcement of the latest partnerships and upgrades to the platform, MBC is giving users a discount of up to 70 percent off the Shahid VIP subscription. The offer will end on February 29, 2020.

MBC Group General Manager Ali Al-Hedeithy, newly appointed CEO, Marc Antoine d’Halluin, and other VIPs and celebrities from the world of entertainment and Arab media were present at the event.

Shahid’s new slogan “It’s Our Time” was also illuminated on the UAE’s iconic Burj Khalifa tower to mark the announcements.

Speaking on Saudi Arabia’s recent developments, Al-Ibrahim said that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reforms were an inspiration for the new changes in MBC.

“The social and economic reforms currently being witnessed by my home country…is something we have always dreamed of. It gives me great pride to witness this dream being finally realized. Today, it is almost apt that we face a new start for our Group, albeit with a difference in objectives,” he said.

“As we look ahead, we strive to take control of our own narratives, showcasing our stories to the rest of the world through the very best in original films, series, and other media content, produced and marketed via MBC Studios,” he added.


‘What’s a UN journalist?’: New film on Syrian refugees sparks ire for lack of Arab casting

Updated 26 September 2020

‘What’s a UN journalist?’: New film on Syrian refugees sparks ire for lack of Arab casting

  • ‘The Newsroom’ actress Olivia Munn selected to star in drama ‘Aleppo’
  • Many online users are concerned that the film will center on a Western journalist, while the Syrian refugee will simply be seen as an extra

DUBAI/LONDON: “What is a UN journalist?” asked the Twitterverse on Friday after the announcement came that actress Olivia Munn would be playing a UN reporter alongside a Syrian refugee in the feature film titled “Aleppo.”

It’s been announced that US actress Olivia Munn is set to play the lead in the feature drama, a story about a Syrian refugee and UN journalist (Munn), who are brought together by their escape from war-afflicted Syria. 

Many online users are concerned that the film will center on a Western journalist, while the Syrian refugee will simply be seen as an extra - given that the job of a UN journalist simply does not exist and will ironically be played by an actress known for her role as a journalist in Aaron Sorkin’s hit show “The Newsroom.”

“Jesus Christ. Firstly, there’s no such thing as a ‘UN journalist’; secondly there was no UN in those last terrifying months of Aleppo, and the only journalists around were Syrians,” Human Rights Watch researcher Sophie McNeill tweeted.

“How any film about Aleppo can centre anyone but brave Syrians is insane. Who writes this s***?”

Nada Homsi, a Beirut-based Syrian reporter and producer for NPR tweeted: “Hello Hollywood I’m Syrian and a journalist and would love to become a movie star, so would many other Syrians, also ‘UN journalists’ aren’t a thing. Hire us!”

Others weren't pleased with Munn’s casting, and have taken to social media to express their discontent.

“The onslaught on Aleppo was one of the most traumatic events for Syrians in Syria and for the diaspora,” wrote one user on Twitter following the news. “Spinning the tragedy to center it around some hypothetical journalist for a Westerner to star in is disgusting,” they added.

Another user wrote: “Oh yay a ‘Syrian refugee drama’ that is actually about a white lady. Just what we need, another white savior movie.”

“Just call it ‘The White Savior,’ why muck about?” added another.

“Aleppo,” which is currently in pre-production in Los Angeles, will be directed by Brazilian filmmaker David Schurman.

The casting of the Syrian starring character has yet to be announced.

Since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, many films and documentaries have been made about the tragedy, including “For Sama,” Waad Al-Kateab’s critically-acclaimed documentary.