The battle for SVOD subscribers in the Middle East intensified this week with the news that MBC’s video-on-demand platform, Shahid, is about to broadcast its first original drama series on 27 November. This new series, called El Diva, explores Cyrine Abdel Nour in the lead role. Nour has already played in MBC series such as Ruby and Al Hayba: Al Hasad, which was released in May this year.
The MENA region is one of the most competitive SVOD in the world and is currently controlled by Starz Play and Netflix. Shahid, backed by MBC, has also established a strong market base, with a market share of around 15% (IHS Markit).
Earlier this year, Maaz Sheikh, CEO of Starz Play, also announced plans to produce the first Arabic original platform in the UAE. However, both platforms play with Netflix, which has so far unveiled three originals. The latest, Paranormal, is based on Ahmed Khaled Tawfik’s horror books and is produced in Egypt.
MBC appointed former Hulu CEO Johannes Larcher to lead its original strategy in early 2019. He said investing in a range of originals is a key part of the growth and expansion plan quinquennial platform