Alternative to Netflix looks to UAE filmmakers
By Patrick Ryan A video streaming platform based in the UAE is being launched to take on the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Starting in time for Ramadan, TV.ae will provide content for both Arabic and English speakers, across the Middle East and North Africa at a cost of $9.99 a month.
But how does TV.ae general manager Marwen Saab feel about the challenge of taking on well established competitors such as Netflix? He said the service will be offering content that audiences may not currently have access to.
“If you look at Netflix they have a one size fits all policy,” Saab added.
“They bring whatever they have in other parts of the world and just give you the same.
“They want to make X amount of money, while we are looking to support local talent and promote Arabic content. “It’s a big challenge but it will be interesting.” Saab said the firm also hopes to support UAE filmmakers with a new programme that gives writers and producers the chance to have their scripts funded and made into pilots.
“We are reaching out to locally-based directors and producers and we will screen pilot episodes of locally-developed shows,” he said.
“We will let the members [of the site] then vote for their favourites and make the most popular ones into a full series.”
With that in mind, tv.ae has made an open call to talented and young content creators.
The firm said the result will be helping aspiring producers reach an international audience.
TV.ae has not revealed what content will be available when the service launches in the coming days, but said it already has productions from the Paramount, BBC and MGM, among others.
The basic free subscription allows users some access, while a $7.99 monthly subscription grants access to a much wider range of content.
“This is going to be supported by advertising and you will have the option to watch free content or pay for content without advertising,” Saab. “We are also looking at the mobile phone market in particular and that’s why we will be releasing content with episodes that last for 10 minutes.”
Ali Al Shaiba, CEO of TV.ae added: “To differentiate ourselves from similar services we have a clear strategy to enrich our content library with the best international productions from industry giants such as Sony, Universal, and others.”
Visit TV.ae for more information.
SCREEN DREAMS: TV.ae is offering UAE talent a chance