MTV Arabia ready to rock Middle East

DUBAI: MTV hopes hip-hop and reality television tailored and sanitized for the Middle East region will draw young Arabs away from dozens of locally produced music video channels that already dominate the market to a new regional version of the pop-culture channel.

MTV Arabia, which official launched over the weekend, will feature 60 per cent international music, 40pc Arabic music and local adaptations of the channel's popular non-music shows.

But MTV, which is known for airing provocative videos featuring scantily clad women, says its Arab version will show less bare skin and profanity.

"When we come to people's homes, we want to earn their respect," said Abdullatif Al Sayegh, chief executive of Arab Media Group, which along with MTV Networks International, owns MTV Arabia.

He explained that there will be "culturally sensitive editors going through content of the programming."

The station aired a pre taped show featuring Grammy award-winning rapper and actor Ludacris, Senegalese-born soul superstar Akon, Lebanese rapper Karl Wolf and an Emirates underground hip-hop band Desert Heat.

By emphasising local music talent and programmes aimed at addressing the concerns Arab youth have, MTV Arabia hopes to set itself apart from the other satellite music channels that saturate the Mideast market.

"We are not only a music channel, we are an entertainment channel where young Arabs will get a voice, programme director Patrick Samaha said.

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