Company to invest $100 mil in developing channel

LONDON — Indian conglom Zee Entertainment Enterprises has formally launched its second free-to-air Arabic channel, Zee Alwan. The company will invest $100 million in developing the channel.

Zee Alwan will air 180 hours of original programming every month, including three Arabic series. In addition, the channel will feature Indian soaps and lifestyle programs dubbed in Arabic and tailored to appeal to Arab audience tastes. Zee did a soft launch for the channel in July and found audience numbers across the Gulf region encouraging, particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Mukund Cairae, Zee’s chief exec for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, said: “With Zee Alwan, we are also creating a new platform for talent collaboration between the Arab world and India. This will benefit the creative community in the region, and add to the historic cultural linkages that have existed between Arabia and India for over several centuries.”

Zee Aflam, a movie channel showing Bollywood films dubbed in Arabic, bowed in 2009.

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