Saudi-owned Middle East Broadcasting Center has expanded from its main Arabic news and entertainment channel, MBC 1, to include a channel dedicated to Hollywood movies, MBC 2, and another showing U.S. sitcoms and talk shows, MBC 4.
In Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, One TV was launched in late 2004 and offers the same mix of American fare. Like the other stations, it does not disclose how much the channel costs.
The three channels have become hugely popular across the Arab world and advertisers are chomping at the bit to buy air-time because of their growing audience in affluent Gulf Arab countries, media analysts say.
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On Dubai's One TV, video montages between programs show presenters gushing in Arabic over Hollywood stars who are depicted against a Dubai skyline made to look like New York.
"We researched what our viewers would like to see and what would attract more commercial activity," said Rashid Murooshid, the channel's manager.
"We have to admit that Hollywood is one of the biggest and best producers of movies, sitcoms and popular shows. Their standard is high and can be easily accepted in this part of the world, since it's in English."
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"People appreciate American culture, entertainment and to some extent their values, concerning democracy," said Jihad Fakhreddine of the Pan-Arab Research Center in Dubai.
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Fakhreddine said the Arab world's binge on U.S. entertainment was another example of the intellectual crisis outlined in recent U.N. Arab Human Development Reports.
"It shows the total bankruptcy of the Arab entertainment industry. It's cheaper for them to buy ready-made products, be it cars, fridges, or entertainment," he said, adding not enough money was being put into Arabic television production.