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Dubai TV vs Abu Dhabi TV

As the old rivalry between Dubai and Abu Dhabi goes on, the two city-states’ TV stations are fiercely wrestling for the upper hand over viewers’ hearts and advertisers’ media plans. How do Dubai TV and Abu Dhabi TV stack up?

Dubai TV and Abu Dhabi TV are battling to get a bigger share of Arab audience, thus gaining exposure on behalf of the emirate they represent. While Dubai is widely considered the region’s media hub, Abu Dhabi is going out of its way to become a serious contender. And the stakes have become higher with Abu Dhabi TV’s recent revamping.

Pan-Arab ambitions and more
Launched in 2000 and part of the government-backed DMI (Dubai Media Incorporated) network, Dubai TV caters to the family segment of the Arab audience, broadcasting mostly Arab-speaking programs, predominantly produced locally. The fact that since 2004, it is represented by Choueiri Group’s Mems also contributed to its strong regional presence.

At one point, Abu Dhabi TV, which went on air in 2000 and is owned by Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), had been trying to attract pan-Arab audiences by offering them a combination of news, politics and entertainment. But with the advent of Al Jazeera in 2003, down the drain went Abu Dhabi TV’s former grid. And perhaps that was a smart move: Al Jazeera made a name for itself with its successful coverage of the Iraq war, but the war soon became morbidly routine.

But for the past few months, Abu Dhabi TV has been going full-throttle with its plans to become a major pan-Arab contender, sparing no efforts. Earlier this year, it poached LBC’s deputy manager Karim Sarkis and made him executive director, while former Disney International executive Ed Borgerding was hired as chief executive of ADMC. Its prime-time schedule has been shifted, a clear sign …


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