Broadcast Middle East to launch second Farsi-speaking channel

{jcomments on}Broadcast Middle East is a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the Moby Group. (Getty Images)

Dubai-based network will screen female friendly shows such as Project Runway, Gypsies from July 9

 

Dubai-based Broadcast Middle East (BME) will launch its second Farsi-speaking television channel on July 9, it said on Sunday.

The firm, a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the Moby Group, aims to target a family audience with a female slant via dubbed shows such as Project Runway and Gypsies, said its CEO.

Zemzemehm is BME’s second Farsi-language channel following the launch of Farsi1 in 2009.

“We believe that there is an opportunity for a second channel, which is a family channel but with a slightly more female skew,” Zaid Mohseni, CEO of BME, told Arabian Business.

The network will also look to launch a second channel targeting male audiences after Ramadan, he added. It all also add a further 35 staff to its Dubai Studio City operations.

Like Farsi1, Zemzemehm will be available via du, e-vision and Eutelsat W3A across Iran and other parts of Asia such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the GCC states.

Competition in the Farsi-speaking broadcast space is expected to increase with advertising revenues expected to top $1bn, said Mohseni.

“We estimate that the Iranian ad market is maybe $0.5bn at the moment of which perhaps $320m is television,” he said.

“We think the market could be $1bn but it is restricted because a number of factors; one of them is that a lot of the advertisers are not aware of the potential viewership of these channels, and it takes time for the advertisers to change their spending.

“We think that there is a huge opportunity in this market. We and potentially our competitors can be this catalyst for growth in the ad market,” he added.

Farsi1 has an average audience of around 25-30 million, the majority of which are based in Iran. “We want to try and maintain that viewership between multiple channels because it’s not sustainable that you can continue to maintain your audience for a long period of time,” said Mohseni.

The Moby Group is the largest television network in Afghanistan.

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