Saudi Arabia-owned MBC Group has officially opened its new headquarters in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, a move that furthers its stated mission to serve as a driver to kick-start the kingdom’s burgeoning film and TV industry. , will strengthen.
The broadcaster, the largest free-to-air satellite player in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as a major premium streamer in the MENA region, held a gala opening on Monday attended by a host of Saudi royals. relatives, ministers and foreign ambassadors, a statement said.
Other guests included MBC’s executive directors, local talents and presenters from MBC’s TV channels as well as the Al Arabiya news service, in which MBC has a minority stake.
Launched in London in 1991, MBC then moved to its headquarters in Dubai in 2002, at a time when Saudi Arabia had banned cinema for religious reasons and entertainment was generally frowned upon by the country’s conservative leadership. The country lifted its cinema ban in December 2017 and has since made the media and creative industries a key pillar of its plan to diversify its economy.
“Three decades after the start of MBC Group’s journey, we are finally here in Riyadh – we are finally here in our homeland,” MBC Group chairman Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim (pictured above) said according to the statement, noting that “it It has always been our ambition to be based here; from the very first day of our London launch in 1991.”
“But then we really thought this dream would stay what it was; just an ambitious but unattainable dream. We didn’t know that one day it would become a reality,” he added.
“We know that our base here in Riyadh will only make us stronger and more successful, taking our projects to an even higher level that fits our immense ambitions,” noted the MBC Group Chairman.
It’s clear that MBC, which currently operates more than 17 free-to-air satellite TV channels, and premium streamer Shahid VIP, is shifting most of its production operations to Saudi Arabia, where MBC Group’s CEO at the gala revealed that MBC has more than 80 movie and TV titles in various stages of production.
High-end MBC product in the pipeline includes fantasy adventure “Rise of the Witches”, the largest TV series ever produced with a homegrown Saudi cast, filmed on three purpose-built studio sets in NEOM, a vast area along the Red River. Seacoast in Tabuk, in the northwest of the kingdom, with what is now touted as the largest soundstage in the country. Neom also recently hosted the Hollywood-style “Desert Warrior” tent pole, featuring an international star cast led by “Captain America” star Anthony Mackie and directed by Rupert Wyatt (“Planet of the Apes”), the largest film production ever. filmed in the country, funded by MBC.