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Mideast getting own ‘Song Contest’

Local version of Eurovision TV show in works

BAGHDAD — Middle East media giants Nibras Media and Tanweer Group are joining forces to develop a local version of the “Eurovision Song Contest” for broadcast across the Mideast-North Africa (MENA) region, an official said.

Nibras purchased the popular show’s format from the European Broadcasting Union and will develop it for broadcast in countries extending from Morocco to the Gulf.

The “Eurovision Song Contest” is “one of the oldest, and by far the best established, entertainment formats in the world. The recipe of the ESC is excellent and can travel worldwide. So it is not surprising that other versions of the ESC will emerge,” said Bettina Brinkmann, head of formats and special events at Eurovision TV.

Nibras-Tanweer is a leading television content provider in the MENA region and boasts more than one-third of the market share in Arab-speaking countries.

The partnership has five studios — located in Dubai Media City, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Damascus and India — which offer production and post production services.

The song contest format is simple — each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then votes for its favorite songs from the other countries .

Countries participate via one of their national EBU-member television stations, which must select a singer and a song to represent their country in the international competition.

The contest was inaugurated in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programs in the world. It is also touted as one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures between 100 million and 600 million.

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