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Joining of the giants
Rotana and Fox International Channels have entered into a multi-million dollar deal with Disney to televise Disney’s content in the region. But will they create local content?
December 15, 2009 8:42 by Aarti Nagraj
The Rotana Media Group along with Fox International Channels announced that it has entered a AED100 million ($27 million) multi-year deal with the Walt Disney company to broadcast Disney content in the region. The deal, which comes into immediate effect, means that movies like the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Wall E, and The Chronicles of Narnia, and series like Ugly Betty, Criminal Minds and Ghost Whisperer will be televised on Fox’s free-to-air channels, Fox Series and Fox Movies in the region. The agreement also includes the screening of The Academy Awards.
Although the multi-million deal will bring three big names together, they are already quite connected – Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, the head of Rotana, has major stakes both in The Walt Disney Company, as well as in News Corp, which owns Fox. Meanwhile, Nezar Nagro, the president of Rotana Media Services has also confirmed that Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp is currently finalizing a deal to buy a stake in Rotana. According to reports, the News Corp could acquire between 10 to 20 per cent of the company.
Rotana and Fox International Channels have also already signed two deals with Disney in the past 18 months since the launch of Fox Movies and Fox Series in the region, according to Rohit D’Silva, general manager of Fox International Channels in the Middle East. But while the earlier ones were smaller content deals, the current agreement is an output deal, he says. “That means, whatever the studio produces will come to us,” he explained.
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