Turkey’s MediaHub and Dubai-Based DKL Studio Forge Arabic Originals Distribution, Production Pact

Turkish content company MediaHub and veteran Dubai-based producer Fadi Ismail have forged a partnership to co-produce Arabic original TV series and distribute them globally.

Ismail, who is the former general manager of Saudi-controlled broadcaster MBC’s 03 Productions arm, currently runs a company named DKL Studios with a slate largely made up of TV projects based on Saudi IP’s. MediaHub was founded in 2021 by former Kanal D International executive director Kerim Emrah Turna who played a key role in bringing Turkish TV dramas to worldwide audiences.

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The idea behind this partnership is to try to accomplish something similar with Arabic shows that have yet to enter the global content landscape despite the fact that production volume and quality are growing, driven mainly by Saudi Arabia’s recent media industry boom.

“I think no less than 500 TV series have been produced in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) in the past five or six years, and I can’t believe that statistically not even a few have been able to break out internationally,” Ismail (pictured, left) told Variety.

“I know Arabic content and I know how penetration of Turkish content in global markets was accomplished,” said Emrah Turna (pictured, right), adding that the first step of their plan is to “create a market for Arabic content in emerging markets” such as Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and CIS because “from a sociological perspective” many current Arab shows are “very close to what audiences are consuming over there.”

Emrah Turna noted that when Ismail was at MBC he was instrumental to the tremendous success scored by Turkish shows across the Arab world and that now they would be trying to replicate that success in reverse.

MediaHub during the past three years has rapidly grown by acquiring and selling a mix of international shows from countries such as Malaysia, India, the Philippines, and South Korea, alongside Turkish content boosted by its own productions, most notably its first original drama series “Alaca” involving two star-crossed lovers who find themselves on different sides of the same story of revenge and betrayal.

The partnership between MediaHub and DKL Studio will provide other prospective partners – including possibly MENA region broadcasters – with a potentially strong international distribution network for readymade Arabic product and also with a prospective partner with whom to team up with on new productions, especially Arabic shows based on Turkish formats, Ismail and Emrah Turna said.

“When you Arabize them [Turkish formats] and make it as good as the original in terms of storytelling, but with Arabic actors, there is a chance that you will have the same success as the original and that it can travel as well as the original. This is something we want to experiment with,” Emrah Turna pointed out.

Ismail and Emrah Turna said they would be announcing the Arabic titles and projects they will be looking to launch globally at a later date.

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