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Nick Set For 2008 Saudi Arabian Debut

MTV Networks International and Arab Media Group, the largest media group in the United Arab Emirates, will launch Nickelodeon Arabia next year as part of their long-term partnership.

With this agreement, MTVNI officials said Nickelodeon will become the first kids’ media brand to create a free-to-air, in-language Arabic service, respectful and reflective of local cultures and values, across the region.

The channel will fall under the aegis of Arabian Television Network, Arab Media Group’s broadcasting arm that is also home to MTV Arabia, which is scheduled to launch in November and three other services set to launch before year-end.

The 24-hour Nickelodeon channel is expected to air via satellite to 36 million TV households, with a potential audience of 190 million people across the region, including key advertising markets Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.  Programming will include a mix of international content from Nickelodeon’s extensive global portfolio and original local Arabic productions, according to MTVNI officials. The channel will be supported by an Arabic Web site that will provide users with an online community and a wide range of interactive elements.

“We are really proud to announce our continued partnership with TECOM Investments and its media arm, Arab Media Group, to make the Nickelodeon brand available to kids across the Middle East and the Gulf,” said Bhavneet Singh, managing director and senior vice president, Emerging Markets Group at MTVNI, in a statement. “The launch of Nickelodeon Arabia is a part of our wider, ongoing multi-platform strategy encompassing consumer products, digital media, hotels and theme parks, which we hope will establish Nickelodeon as the premier destination for kids in the region.”

MTVNI’s Emerging Markets is the fastest-growing region in the company’s portfolio of multi-platform businesses, managing 21 TV networks, 19 Web sites, two broadband channels and three mobile TV channels encompassing the MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, VIVA and Comedy Central brands in Russia, central and eastern Europe, central Asia and the Middle East.