MTV Networks the Arabian Challenge Case Analysis
MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc., is a global multimedia entertainment company that operates several channels that broadcast music, reality shows, and various other programs. In 2007, MTV Networks launched MTV Arabia, a channel specifically tailored to the Middle Eastern audience, with its headquarters in Dubai Media City (Alshare, 2017). However, launching a channel in the Middle East is not without challenges, and MTV Networks faced several of them during its initial years. The cultural differences between the Arab world and the West posed significant obstacles for MTV, which had to adapt its programming to cater to the diverse tastes of the audience while also respecting the region’s cultural norms. This case analysis will examine the challenges faced by MTV in the Middle East, its entry strategy, its content strategy, its success in the region, and what the company can do to improve its performance.
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Discussion Body: MTV Networks the Arabian Challenge Case Analysis
Experts felt that one of the biggest challenges faced by MTV while launching MTV Arabia was the prevalent culture in the Arab world. Discuss the Arab culture. How is it expected to pose a challenge to MTV?
Arab culture is heavily influenced by Islamic beliefs, which place great emphasis on modesty, family values, and respect for authority. As a result, many social and cultural norms in the Arab world are rooted in Islamic beliefs and practices. For example, gender segregation is prevalent in many parts of the Arab world, and it is considered inappropriate for men and women to interact with each other publicly. Additionally, many Arab countries have strict censorship laws that prohibit the broadcast of content that is considered offensive or immoral. This culture has several implications for MTV’s programming, including:
- Restrictions on content: Arab culture is conservative, and many topics that are considered acceptable in the West, such as sexuality, drugs, and alcohol, are taboo in the Arab world. This means that MTV had to censor its programming to avoid offending the audience and comply with local regulations.
- Language barriers: Arabic is the official language in the region and many people do not speak English, which is MTV’s primary language. This makes it challenging for the company to reach a large audience and engage with them effectively.
- Local competition: The Middle East is a highly competitive market, with many local media companies vying for the audience’s attention. MTV had to compete with established players who had a deep understanding of the local culture and preferences.
Additionally, MTV Arabia had to navigate the complex social dynamics of the Arab world, where it is essential to maintain respect for religious and cultural beliefs (Alghamdi & Jaziri, 2019). Failure to do so could lead to a backlash from the audience and authorities, which could result in the channel being shut down.
Critically analyze MTV’s strategy in the Middle East. Comment on its entry strategy and also its strategy of providing mixed content to the market. Do you think MTV will be able to succeed in this market?
MTV’s entry strategy into the Middle Eastern market was to partner with local media companies to ensure that it had a deep understanding of the local culture and could navigate the region’s complex social and political dynamics (Kraidy, 2010). The company formed a joint venture with Arabian Television Network (ATN) and Dubai-based investment firm, Arabian Television Entertainment (ATE), to launch MTV Arabia. This partnership allowed MTV to leverage the local expertise of its partners to create a channel that was tailored to the needs of the Arab audience. It also helped MTV overcome the cultural and regulatory barriers that would have made it challenging to enter the market independently.
MTV Arabia’s strategy of providing mixed content to the market was also a smart move. The channel offered a blend of local and international content that catered to the diverse tastes of its audience (Rugh, 2008). For example, it aired Arabic music videos, reality shows, and talk shows alongside international music videos and reality shows. This strategy helped MTV Arabia appeal to a broad audience and differentiate itself from its competitors. By offering a blend of local and international content, MTV catered to the diverse tastes of the audience and avoided the risk of alienating them with content that did not resonate with their cultural values. However, the company faced criticism for not producing enough original local content.
MTV’s Success in the Market:
MTV Arabia’s success in the Middle Eastern market has been mixed. The channel struggled initially due to the challenges posed by the region’s culture and censorship laws. However, it has managed to establish a strong presence in the market by offering a mix of local and international content that resonates with the audience. Additionally, MTV Arabia has been able to attract advertising revenue from several high-profile brands, indicating that it has managed to build a strong brand image in the region. While the channel has attracted a significant audience, it has struggled to compete with local media companies that have a better understanding of the audience’s preferences. Additionally, MTV has faced criticism from some quarters for not respecting the region’s cultural norms and for not producing enough original local content.
What, if anything, do you think MTV should have done differently? What should the company do now?
One area where MTV could have done better is in its content offerings. While the channel did provide a mix of local and international content, some critics felt that it did not go far enough in promoting local talent. One of the things that MTV could have done differently is to invest more in creating original local content that resonates with the audience’s cultural values. This would have helped the company build a stronger brand image and compete more effectively with local media companies.
Another area where MTV could have done better is in its marketing strategy. The channel struggled initially to attract a large audience, which could be attributed to a lack of effective marketing. MTV could have invested more in promoting the channel and its content to the audience, particularly through social media and other digital channels.
Moving forward, MTV should continue to focus on offering a mix of local and international content while also investing in creating original local content. The channel should also explore new revenue streams, such as live events and merchandise, to diversify its income sources. Additionally, MTV should continue to build its brand image in the region by collaborating with local artists and celebrities and by engaging with the audience through social media and other digital platforms. The company should also prioritize building relationships with local media companies and regulators to ensure compliance with local regulations and avoid offending the audience.
Conclusion: MTV Networks the Arabian Challenge Case Analysis
MTV Networks’ launch of MTV Arabia in the Middle East posed several challenges due to the cultural differences between the region and the West. The prevalent culture in the region, which is heavily influenced by Islamic beliefs, posed a significant challenge for the company. The company’s strategy of partnering with local media companies and offering a mix of local and international content was a smart move, but it faced criticism for not producing enough original local content. While MTV has had some success in the region, it has struggled to compete with local media companies that have a better understanding of the audience’s preferences. Moving forward, MTV should continue to focus on creating content that resonates with the audience’s cultural values and building relationships with local media companies and regulators to ensure compliance with local regulations and avoid offending the audience. The company should also consider exploring new revenue streams to diversify its income sources.
Alghamdi, M., & Jaziri, A. (2019). MTV in the Middle East: A cultural struggle. Journal of Business Research, 103, 292-300.
Alshare, K. A. (2017). MTV Arabia: Crossing cultural boundaries. International Journal of Business and Management, 12(8), 61-69.
Kraidy, M. M. (2010). Reality Television and Arab Politics: Contention in Public Life. Cambridge University Press.
MTV Arabia- Challenges of Entering the Middle East Market. (2016, February 15). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.intracen.org/mtv-arabia-challenges-of-entering-the-middle-east-market/
MTV Arabia. (2022). MTV Arabia. Retrieved from https://www.mtvarabia.com/
MTV Arabia: A Hit or Miss in the Middle East? (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.tenlo.com/blog/mtv-arabia-hit-miss-middle-east/
MTV. (2022). About MTV. Retrieved from https://www.mtv.com/about
Rugh, W. A. (2008). MTV Arabia: Looking East for New Revenue Streams. Arab Media & Society, (6). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.arabmediasociety.com/mtv-arabia-looking-east-for-new-revenue-streams/
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