DUBAI: Kerning Cultures Network has become the first podcast platform from the MENA region to sign with Creative Artists Agency, the leading entertainment and sports agency.
Founded in 2015, Kerning Cultures produces immersive Arabic and English podcasts, reaching audiences across the Middle East and the U.S. It is one of the largest podcast networks in the region, known for producing shows such as “B’Hob (With Love)” — which was named Apple Podcasts’ 2020 show of the year in the Arab World category — “Al Empire” and the eponymous “Kerning Cultures.”
“As the first MENA podcast company to sign with the leading Hollywood talent agency, this marks a huge milestone for our industry,” co-founder and CEO Hebah Fisher told Arab News.
“It signals an increased demand for Arab stories to be heard internationally and, of course, is a testament to the quality of the storytelling that Kerning Cultures Network produces.”
The conversation between the two companies began over a year ago. CAA represented a creator Kerning Cultures had partnered with to create, write and direct its first fiction series “Saqr’s Eclipse.”
“We designed this podcast with the intention to adapt it to TV in the future, and so we started those conversations early with CAA about this as an opportunity,” explained Fisher and Bella Ibrahim, the company’s marketing director.
“As time went on, our conversation expanded to include more Kerning Cultures Network shows and we are excited to partner officially with CAA as our talent agency,” they said.
The two companies will work together to find opportunities to adapt existing podcast intellectual property for motion pictures and books, as well as breaking into global markets.
The network has 13 original Arabic and English shows that top the charts across the region. Most of them are narrative stories that can be easily adapted to other formats, according to Fisher and Ibrahim.
They said the company was modeling itself on the likes of Wondery, The American Life and Gimlet Media, which have had their podcasts spun into TV shows and movies.
“We hope you’ll be seeing our stories on Netflix, Shahid and Amazon soon,” Fisher said.
For now, however, the network’s Ramadan lineup includes fan favorites such as “Sukoun,” a 30-day, short, guided Arabic meditation series; “Kerning Cultures,” an English documentary podcast that uncovers stories from the MENA region; and “A Superbly Scientific Podcast” hosted by YouTube creator Ahmed Samir.
During Ramadan the network will also release “Kuzbara,” a new Arabic-language show about food and the memories surrounding it, with guests like Chef Orfali and Faraj’s Kitchen.
Later in the year, Kerning Cultures Network will launch a new season of “Al Empire,” an English podcast that has featured successful Arabs like Bassem Youssef and Dina Shihabi, as well as shows that will see it venture into new genres like music and children’s stories.