OTT platform Viu is on a mission to increase its Arabic originals and it is doing so with purpose.
For the longest time Arabic content coming out of Egypt was the most sought after across the Middle East, but Viu VP of content Wesam Kattan feels that is no longer the case.
He told Digital Studio ME: “Part of that reason is that the younger generation of Saudis grew up on short form local content that is authentic to them. Another reason is you see a lot of Egyptian content that’s more focused on local authentic Egyptian audiences.”
He added that Gen Z, which is an example of the above demographic, is the most underserved audience in the Arab world and Viu is focusing on addressing them.
“The Holy Grail today for producers and for platforms such as ourselves is to create a single piece of content that travels across these countries. Efforts to create pan Arab content in the past have not always been a success. That’s the million dollar question.”
A crossover, hence, will help transcend borders. “I personally loved Rashid and Rajab, a movie produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, which is a switch comedy that involves an Emirati and an Egyptian person. I think there is big potential to open up single pieces of content to two different markets. There was also a Kuwaiti drama series about a few youngsters who study in Egypt. Creative approaches of that sort are going to bring us closer to solving the puzzle. You might not have content that’s going to travel across the whole Middle East but at least between two or three countries,” Kattan added.
In its upcoming originals Viu will focus on experimenting with content that resonates across borders in the Middle East. “Two Viu originals are definitely going to take us in this direction, more details on them will follow soon,” Kattan revealed to Digital Studio ME exclusively.