MTV Networks: The Arabian Challenge

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR294
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2006-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : MTV Networks
Industry : Media & Entertainment
Countries : Middle East

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MTV Networks: The Arabian Challenge has been published in Strategic Management Formulation, Implementation, & Control, 12e by Pearce & Robinson, McGraw-Hill / Irwin
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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

MTV (short for Music Television), which pioneered the concept of a cable music channel, was launched on August 1, 1981, and marked the commencement of the cable TV revolution. It was promoted by Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company, a joint venture between Warner Communications and American Express. In 1984, the company was renamed MTV Networks (MTVN) with its operations confined to the US...

Preparing for the Launch

With the growing popularity of MTV, there was a mushrooming of many similar channels across the world.

Though the Arab media was late in adopting this concept, some European and US channels had started offering such programs in this region, analysts pointed out.

In the mid-1990s, some Arab music channels too entered the fray. Some of these channels were influenced by MTV...

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MTV Enters the Middle East

MTV Arabia was considered by experts as the biggest launch in MTVI's history in terms of potential audience at launch. An exclusive, star-studded preview event marked the launch of MTV in the Middle East...

Rationale Behind the Venture

Favorable demographics had been one of the key rationales behind MTV's commercial launch in the Middle East...

Key Challenges and Success Strategy

MTV was known for airing sexually explicit and provocative programmes. In other words, it carried with it an image of open Western culture. This explicit Western culture projected by MTV went contrary to the socially conservative culture of the Middle East and could be a key bottleneck to the channel's acceptance in the Arab region, according to analysts...

The Road Ahead

MTVN catered to a huge market segment of nearly 2 billion people worldwide and was expected to provide a global platform for Arabic music and culture. It had influenced young people all over the world and given them a voice and it would try to do the same in the Middle East...


Exhibit I: MTV Arabia Logo
Exhibit II: A Note on Viacom Inc.
Exhibit III: Selected Quarterly Financials of Viacom
Exhibit IV: Music and Entertainment Channels in Saudi Arabia
Exhibit V: Local Productions to be Aired on MTV Arabia
Exhibit VI: The Top 20 Shows on MTV Arabia as on January 3, 2008

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