Al­ter­na­tive to Net­flix looks to UAE film­mak­ers

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS - @ThatPad­dyRyan

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, 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 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, 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. 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 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 for more in­for­ma­tion.

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