Arabic cooking channel Fatafeat announces production plans for 2021

During the last two years, Fatafeat’s linear content had accounted for around 350 hours over each 12-month period.
During the last two years, Fatafeat’s linear content had accounted for around 350 hours over each 12-month period. (Supplied)
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Updated 09 March 2021

Arabic cooking channel Fatafeat announces production plans for 2021

Arabic cooking channel Fatafeat announces production plans for 2021
  • Channel already has more than 270 hours of traditional TV content scheduled for production in 2021

DUBAI: Arabic cooking channel Fatafeat has announced its production plans for the year reaffirming its commitment to local content.

The channel already has more than 270 hours of linear, or traditional TV, content scheduled for production in 2021, with more to be added in the coming months.

During the last two years, linear content had accounted for around 350 hours over each 12-month period and Fatafeat plans to exceed the number this year.

In addition to linear content, Fatafeat’s studio in Dubai Production City will produce social and digital content, which is expected to exceed the 1,000-plus hours of such content produced in 2020.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdowns and the following safety protocols hit production last year.

Layla Tamim, commercial manager at Discovery, Fatafeat’s parent company, told Arab News: ““In 2020, the lockdown protocols which resulted in the Fatafeat production studio closing occurred only one-month before Ramadan – a peak period for premiere content and partner content each year.”

“Whilst production wasn’t able to continue in the traditional sense, we are fortunate enough to work with an incredibly talented and agile team, which meant that, with some virtual prowess and at-home production equipment, our brilliant chefs and producers were able to continue creating content for fans remotely,” she said.




Layla Tamim, commercial manager at Discovery, Fatafeat’s parent company. (Supplied)

The content being produced at the Dubai-based Fatafeat studio is not only designed for Fatafeat’s linear television channel but also curated for its Genius Kitchen app, as well as social media content for YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Facebook.

Tamim pointed out that the increase in content output, as well as its regional relevance, had resulted in more inquiries for brand collaborations and sponsored programming.

“Our plans for 2021 are not only to increase the hours of output from the studio but also capitalize on the opportunity to develop creative content solutions, which not only add value to our burgeoning fanbase but also showcase real value to our partners.”


StarzPlay strengthens Turkish content offering with BluTV add-on

With this new partnership, StarzPlay subscribers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will have access to BluTV’s Turkish catalogue dubbed in Arabic. (Supplied)
With this new partnership, StarzPlay subscribers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will have access to BluTV’s Turkish catalogue dubbed in Arabic. (Supplied)
Updated 32 sec ago

StarzPlay strengthens Turkish content offering with BluTV add-on

With this new partnership, StarzPlay subscribers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will have access to BluTV’s Turkish catalogue dubbed in Arabic. (Supplied)
  • StarzPlay subscribers can watch Turkish content dubbed in Arabic with BluTV add-on free for first 3 months

DUBAI: StarzPlay has launched a new add-on partnership with BluTV, Turkey’s first and largest local subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, which is globally available for all Turkish- and Arabic-speaking audiences.

With this new partnership, StarzPlay subscribers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will have access to BluTV’s Turkish catalogue dubbed in Arabic.

The add-on will be available as a dedicated branded area across all StarzPlay’s existing platforms. The service will be free for the first three months.

The partnership accelerates StarzPlay’s expansion strategy to deliver diversified content for its growing subscriber base.

Earlier this year, the streaming service launched two add-on services in partnership with global brands discovery+ and Ultimate Fighting Championship.

It also ramped up its Turkish content offering just before Ramadan through partnerships with MISTCO, an international brand management and content distribution agency, and Calinos, an Istanbul-headquartered Turkish company that distributes Turkish series, movies and TV programs across international platforms.

“In the highly competitive SVOD sector, it is important to update our content offering continuously and provide diversified entertainment choices that are relevant to our subscribers,” said StarzPlay co-founder Danny Bates.

“Our partnership with BluTV is an extension of our business strategy for 2021 as we continue to make inroads in content aggregation.”

The shows available via BluTV on StarzPlay include “Yarım Kalan Aşklar”, “Gürkan Chef”, “Aşk-ı Memnu”, “Yeşilçam” and “Meryem.”

Aydin Dogan Yalcindag, founder and CEO of BluTV, said: “Our investor, US TV giant Discovery, has an established partnership with StarzPlay in the MENA region, which presented a great opportunity to expand our services into new markets and offer true value to customers.”


Finyal Media launches new branded podcast ‘Al-Silah’

Filmed in Saudi Arabia, the first season of Al-Silah launched on April 13 in time for Ramadan, with two episodes going live per week. (Supplied)
Filmed in Saudi Arabia, the first season of Al-Silah launched on April 13 in time for Ramadan, with two episodes going live per week. (Supplied)
Updated 8 min 12 sec ago

Finyal Media launches new branded podcast ‘Al-Silah’

Filmed in Saudi Arabia, the first season of Al-Silah launched on April 13 in time for Ramadan, with two episodes going live per week. (Supplied)
  • Mystery drama podcast series is partnership between GMC Middle East, Next Broadcast Media, Dentsu Aegis

DUBAI: Podcast network Finyal Media, known for its focus on storytelling throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, has partnered with GMC Middle East, Next Broadcast Media, and Dentsu Aegis to create a new mystery drama series.

Eight-parter, “Al-Silah,” is centered on two Saudi brothers embarking on a 13-hour car journey from Jeddah to Dammam in a 2021 GMC Yukon after receiving a cryptic and hurried call from their father asking them to get to Dammam as quickly as possible.

Throughout the drive, the brothers try to piece together the full story from relatives, business associates, and other unexpected sources of information.

Filmed in Saudi Arabia, the first season of Al-Silah launched on April 13 in time for Ramadan, with two episodes going live per week.

Kelly MacDonald, chief marketing officer for General Motors in Africa and the Middle East, said: “The holy month of Ramadan is a period we really cherish at GMC considering our strong connection with the Arab culture.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the most important markets for GMC, and we are thrilled to be getting closer to the community through this exciting project featuring our very own 2021 GMC Yukon.”

The new partnership also signified the growth of brand investments in the podcasting industry. Earlier this year, Unilever’s platform Miraa partnered with Finyal Media to release the six-episode podcast series “A Breath, a Step, a Mirror” for International Women’s Day, with more seasons expected throughout the year.

A report last year by UAE-based podcast network, Amaeya Media, found that 50 percent of listeners preferred entertainment-related content, feedback that has been reflected in more brands adopting a storytelling approach to their podcasts.

Leila Hamadeh, co-founder and CEO of Finyal Media, said: “It was really important for us to collaborate with a partner whose brand could authentically and seamlessly integrate into the show in a natural way.

“With the series being the story of a dramatic adventure across the Kingdom, the iconic car brand GMC felt like a very natural fit for the characters in the show.”

Podcasts are becoming a more lucrative advertising opportunity for brands as they offer a complete branding opportunity in a natural and authentic way that is more cost-effective than other platforms.

Lemya Soltani, director of client partnerships at Next Broadcast Media, said: “Podcasts offer our clients the opportunity to reach their audience in a contextually relevant environment where they can get 100 percent of a user’s attention without being intrusive.”

Al-Silah is available for free on Apple Podcast.


Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal breaks new ground

Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal breaks new ground
The Saudi Journal of Philosophical Studies (SJPS) was launched by the cultural platform Mana, which was set up two years ago. (Supplied)
Updated 14 April 2021

Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal breaks new ground

Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal breaks new ground
  • Philosophers from outside the Arab world contributed to the first issue, specifically from Germany and the US

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first philosophy journal has been issued, with its editor-in-chief saying that the country was witnessing a “tangible philosophical renaissance.”
The Saudi Journal of Philosophical Studies (SJPS) was launched by the cultural platform Mana, which was set up two years ago.
According to its editor in chief, Sarah Al-Rajhi, the principal aim of the journal was to help researchers in the Kingdom, the Arab world and the West to publish their work without any financial cost and in line with accurate scientific standards.
“Philosophy indicates the position of knowledge within any culture,” she told Arab News. “It is no secret that Saudi Arabia is currently witnessing a tangible philosophical renaissance that should have culminated in the launch of a refereed academic philosophical journal. At Mana, we aim to train researchers in philosophical writing and create a kind of accumulation in this regard. We do this on our online platform, and more systematically in our peer-reviewed journal.”
She said that the SJPS advisory board included 12 leading thinkers and philosophers from the Arab world and the West, and that this number was appropriate because each member represented an orientation and school of thought.
The scholars were chosen on the basis of precise criteria, the most important of which were their research, their recognition by the scientific research community, their “abundant philosophical production” and their geographical distribution.
The advisory board includes members from Saudi Arabia, the US, Australia, the UK, Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria.
Al-Rajhi said that the SJPS had received a large number of research papers in different languages from many countries since its launch.
“We subjected this research to close referees as the journal has a list of highly qualified referees. We apologized to some researchers whose research did not meet the required publishing standards, and we provided them with the referees’ reports that include important notes and instructions in order to help them address the deficiencies in their research and develop them.”

FASTFACTS

• The Saudi Journal of Philosophical Studies (SJPS) was launched by the cultural platform Mana, which was set up two years ago.

• The SJPS advisory board includes 12 leading thinkers and philosophers from the Arab world and the West.

• Among the open access articles are a paper from the US-Lebanese philosopher Raja Halwani.

• Another article is from Mohamed Mohamed Madian, philosophy professor at the University of Cairo.

Philosophers from outside the Arab world contributed to the first issue, specifically from Germany and the US.
The first edition of the SJPS was applauded by elite cultural figures and entities, including Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan. He tweeted the issue announcement, adding: “Such a great step to enrich Saudi philosophical content.”

Such a great step to enrich Saudi philosophical content. Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan
Saudi culture minister

Al-Rajhi, in turn, expressed her gratitude for the support that the Saudi cultural community received from the ministry.
“With your continuing encouragement and support to the knowledge and cultural movement in Saudi Arabia, the future will even be brighter with more and more steps,” she replied.
She said that some of the journal’s articles were free to access for readers on the Mana platform and that issues would also be sent to Saudi and Arab universities.
Al-Rajhi, who is the co-founder of Mana, said the journal could contribute to strengthening the Kingdom’s philosophical movement and that the encouragement of academic publishing in the field of philosophy was the pinnacle of this movement.
“To write a philosophical paper in a systematic way that adheres to the accuracy and academic standards in writing, and for the scientific community to read what you write, is a great thing and a beginning that can be both built and expanded upon. Moreover, we believe that the international character of the SJPS allows Saudi researchers to learn about the research output of their colleagues around the world.”
Al-Rajhi explained what distinguished the SJPS from other Arab and international refereed journals. It did not just present research papers, but a variety of content.
“This content included an introductory essay on a philosophical topic, an introductory essay about a philosopher, an introduction to a research project, translations of two valuable texts from English into Arabic, and finally a statistical analysis of the publications of the most important international publishing houses in the second half of 2020.”
She said there was a clear philosophical activity in Saudi Arabia that nobody could ignore and that it was part of the country’s general cultural activity, adding that had it not been for the “official institutions’ support of this activity, it would not have appeared this way.”
The next desired step within the Saudi philosophy community was to teach the subject in the country’s universities as an independent academic discipline, she said.
“We have tried to create a kind of intersection between philosophy and academia, and we are hopeful that it will be a step that paves the way toward establishing the first departments of philosophical studies in Saudi universities.”
Among the open access articles are a paper from the US-Lebanese philosopher Raja Halwani, who is a philosophy professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In his abstract for the “Virtue of Integrity,” Halwani writes there is a powerful argument that integrity is not a virtue because it would be a redundant virtue, or what he calls the “redundancy objection.”
He said that integrity was usually tested when the agent was under pressure or tempted to act against their values. A virtuous person was someone who had virtues, including wisdom, and was able to act properly whenever the situation called for it.
Another article is from Mohamed Mohamed Madian, philosophy professor at the University of Cairo’s Faculty of Art.
He discusses Cornel Ronald West, a prominent left-wing African-American thinker, and his writing focuses on three levels expressing the West’s philosophy: Prophetic pragmatism, the philosopher’s concept of democracy, and the problem of racial discrimination.


Tunisian journalists protest over new head of state news agency

Tunisian journalists protest over new head of state news agency
Updated 13 April 2021

Tunisian journalists protest over new head of state news agency

Tunisian journalists protest over new head of state news agency
  • Protesting journalists say Kamel Ben Younes is too close to the moderate Islamist Ennahda

TUNIS: Tunisian police on Tuesday clashed with journalists at the state news agency demonstrating against a new chief executive whose appointment they see as an attempt to undermine editorial independence.
Dozens of protesting journalists had gathered in front of Tunis Afrique Presse’s (TAP) headquarters to try to stop Kamel Ben Younes from entering, but police later forced a way in.
“TAP is free and police must go,” the journalists chanted.
Protesting journalists say Ben Younes is too close to the moderate Islamist Ennahda, the biggest party in parliament. They accuse him of backing moves to control the press before the 2011 revolution brought democracy.
He has denied both charges, saying he is a political independent and pointing to his past work as a journalist with several outlets, including the BBC.
Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, whose government needs Ennahda’s parliamentary backing to survive, has described the appointment of Ben Younes as a purely administrative move and in no way an effort to interfere with TAP’s editorial stance.
Before the revolution, TAP was an arm of state propaganda based entirely on official sources. But it has become a rare Arab news agency with editorial independence, often covering stories that criticize the government.
During protests in January, it reported on demonstrations as they took place and on accusations of police brutality. It has also reported on the friction between Mechichi, Ennahda and President Kais Saied.
“This appointment indicates an unbridled desire to lay hands on the agency and make it a governmental and partisan propaganda trumpet, and we will not accept it,” said Mounir Souissi, a TAP journalist at the protest.
The Journalists’ Syndicate, part of Tunisia’s labor unions movement, has called for TAP reporters to hold their first-ever strike on April 22 if the government does not withdraw Ben Younes.
Mechichi and Ben Younes have said they will not back down.
“Everyone knows I have been independent in my professional career for 35 years, and the goal of my appointment is to reform the agency that suffers from many administrative and financial problems,” Ben Younes told Reuters.


French M6 Group channels to launch on Arabic streaming service Shahid VIP

The French-language M6 International channel will offer the best programs from the group’s TV channels, with content from M6, W9, 6ter, Paris Premiere, and Teva. (Supplied)
The French-language M6 International channel will offer the best programs from the group’s TV channels, with content from M6, W9, 6ter, Paris Premiere, and Teva. (Supplied)
Updated 13 April 2021

French M6 Group channels to launch on Arabic streaming service Shahid VIP

The French-language M6 International channel will offer the best programs from the group’s TV channels, with content from M6, W9, 6ter, Paris Premiere, and Teva. (Supplied)
  • TV broadcaster bringing M6 International, TiJi, Gulli Bil Arabi to Shahid VIP
  • The French-language M6 International channel will offer the best programs from the group’s TV channels, with content from M6, W9, 6ter, Paris Premiere, and Teva

DUBAI: Shahid VIP, the premium, subscription-based Arabic streaming service of MBC’s Shahid, will see the launch of three channels from French broadcaster M6 Group.

M6 International, TiJi, and Arabic channel Gulli Bil Arabi cover lifestyle, kids, culture, cooking, fashion, reality, and news, in addition to children’s content in French and Arabic.

The French-language M6 International channel will offer the best programs from the group’s TV channels, with content from M6, W9, 6ter, Paris Premiere, and Teva.

The channel’s diversified program selection includes finance and economy show “Capital,” fashion docu-reality series “Les Reines du Shopping,” real estate reality show “Chasseurs d’Appart,” adventure reality with “Pekin Express,” current affairs program “66 Minutes,” and science show “E=M6.”

Tiji, also a French-language channel, is entirely dedicated to kids and early learning content, and includes animated shows such as “Oum le Dauphin Blanc,” “Loup,” and “Maya l’Abeille.”

The Arabic-language channel Gulli Bil Arabi is also targeted at children featuring discovery and adventure content such as “The Adventures of Nasreddin,” “Suhail,” and “Jamillah and Aladdin.”