Continuing from the engaging debate on Subzero Blue, I would like to add my voice to that of MMM and salute the recent addition of MBC4 to to the Arabic satellite channel lineup.
Nowadays, it seems competition among Arabic satellite channels is raging for Western programing. It began with Saudi-owned MBC 2 nearly three years ago, as it emerged with a revolutionary English channel featuring American sitcoms, dramas, talk shows and fairly new movies. After enjoying the top position as really the only player for several years, the channel faced fierce competition from Dubai-based One TV, which adopted a similar format but introduced more recent programs.
Now MBC4 is here and looks sharp as can be. In addition to sitcoms and talk shows, the channel features some of the best in American news shows like 20/20, 60 Minutes and others.
We have been flipping through these channels for a while now and they are beginning to dominate our viewing time to the point that we find our paid satellite subscription to Orbit is a useless, really a waste of money. The Orbit package just doesn’t provide anything special and worse, they seem to enjoy showing B-grade movies that few ever heard of.
Paid satellite packages like Orbit, Showtime and others are facing fierce competition now. Unless they really think of something new to offer they will soon bite the dust, at least in this region.
As a media voyeur, I believe the regional trend amid free-to-air satellite channels is English-packaged programming. What is happening now reminds me of the black day when Jordan TV decided to cancel all-English JTV2. Shrewd officials at the channel insisted on mixing Arabic and English programs into one "super channel," as they called it, thinking it would bring more viewers to JTV. They were mistaken.
I was among many who stopped watching the national channel all together after they canceled JTV2. After this influx of successful English-only channels, I bet officials at JTV2 are realizing how flawed their decision was.