- Published: September 6, 2022
- Updated: September 6, 2022
- Language: English
- Downloads: 26
Music Television or MTV is the pioneer of the concept of a cable music channel. It started in 1981 in United States. This was a mark of the commencement of the cable TV revolution in the history. The primary audience for MTV is those in the 12 to 24 age group. Later on, MTV launched many sister channel, this includes VH1 (video hit one) which shows light popular music, Rhythm and blues which shows R&B, jazz, classics and country music, and lastly Nickelodeon which is the children channel. By 1987 MTVN began its first expansion outside of the United States.
The first target for MTV was the European countries. Then they have a further expansion set out to Australia, Latin America and Asia. By mid 2006, MTV catered to an audience of more than one billion in 179 countries across Europe, Asia, Latin American and Australia. MTV is one of the most successful channels to expand globally and remain true to their brand image. One of the main reasons why they become very successful with the expansion was that the channel adopted a decentralized structure and gave commercial and creative autonomy to their local employees.
They are aware of the cultural differences in each region in the globe, they intelligently used their local staff to break the cultural boundary and present MTV to the people. One of the top management from MTV (Roedy) stated that this MTV expansion is “ something we decided early on was to not export just one product for the world but to generate a very different experience for our brands depending on the local cultures. Now, another challenge for MTV has arise, Middle East region is the next target for MTV global expansion. Issue: MTV Network (MTVN) launched MTV Arabia on November 17, 2007.
It is a partnership between Arabian Television Network (ATN) and MTV Network as an effort of its global expansion strategy. This is considered a really huge market. There are mainly three issues preventing a successful expansion to Middle East region. First is the extreme cultural difference between MTV and the countries in Middle East. Middle Eastern people are very conservative while MTV tend to be the voice of liberation for the younger generation and it is very liberal in itself. Second, there is a huge anti American sentiments prevalent among a large group of population in Middle East.
Political and religious issues are difficult to overcome for both parties. Lastly, Middle East region is very rich in its cultures. Many things might be acceptable in some countries while others cannot stand a sight of it. MTV has to find a right balance for the every sub cultural group in the Middle East. Cultural differences between MTV and Arabs MTV is coming from the western world and it is well known for airing explicit sexually, open and provocative programs. MTV is very open and it carries an image of western pop culture along with it.
As far as everyone may have noticed, Arab people are one of the most conservative people in the world today. Some Arab females are wearing clothed mask to conceal themselves, they are not suppose to show any part of their body to strangers. Family is highly value for the Arab, the head of the family has ultimate authorization in everything that is going on in the family. MTV value individualism and encourage people to speak and stand up for themselves. This image went contrary to the socially conservative culture of the Middle East, and it could be a key bottleneck to the channel’s acceptance in Arab Region.
Anti – American segment United States is the world’s leading power of the world in term of financially, diplomacy and military. Of course there will be other people who have strong sentiment against the United States. A lot of people in Middle have negative feeling with the American people, American culture, religion and most importantly the diplomatic issues. For example, a lot of Arabs dislike the US for their invasion on the Iraqi and their support on Arabs’ arch enemy, Israel. From these events, some Arabs have developed a strong feeling against American culture.
There are afraid that American company such as MTV will come into their territory and spread the illness culture and westernize their children. (I’m not trying to be unpatriotic, this is just to give example to some of thought that non-American people are thinking) Diverse culture within Middle East The Middle East region is the connecting land among the three continents; these are Europe, Asia and Africa. From its geography, Middle East probably has the most rich and diverse cultures in the world. You have a really onservative Saudi Arabian, liberal Lebanese, modern Israeli and etc. Finding a right balance for the channel for all of these countries will be tough to manage. MTV has to find the right content for the Arabs and find the ways to connect and captivate Arabian youth. Alternative: From all this issues preventing MTV to expand successfully into the Middle East market, I believe MTV has to come up with the way to manage this problem while retaining their brand image. MTV has to convince the Arabs that MTV Arabia is the channel supporting the Arabs, made by the Arabs and for the Arabs.
It might be a good idea for MTV to position themselves as a global brand rather than siding with the any of the western pop culture. This will eliminate the negativity that some Arabs have with the Western world. It will also help MTV with the Anti-American issue that some Arabs might have. MTV has to be able to “ think globally and act locally”, it has to respect to local norms and culture while still retaining their global strategy and retain its image. MTV network might consider create more channels for the Middle East region to better suit each sub-culture.
Saudi Arabian will enjoy more conservative show than the Lebanese while Iraqi might like a specific type of music for than the Israeli. Also, the education level in these countries are very different among each others, MTV has to present the right content to the right group of people. Even though Middle Eastern has a lot of similarity among themselves, but they are very different from each others. About the mixed content strategy which MTV plan to use in this region, I strongly feel that it might work in some regions and might to do well with others. English proficiency will be a key factor in solving this issue.
A more modernize country such as Lebanon or Israel will enjoy mixed content, while Iraq and Iran will not be very pleased with the use of English language. I have experience this first hand, when MTV has expanded to South East Asian region. Most of my childhood friends in Thailand do not understand and they weren’t very happy with it. In the low English proficiency country, they shouldn’t use a lot of English, people will feel that the channel is not being made for them and it will eventually turn them down and force them to enjoy the competitors’ programs. Conclusion:
MTV is coming on a right track on expanding their global brand to the Middle East, but they will have to be very careful not to offend anyone or things might turn very ugly for them. I would recommend MTV to create more channels within the network to better serve each sub-culture within the region. Also they have to differentiate themselves from the Americans. Since being American might trigger some Middle East sensitive feeling and lead them to cause an uprising against MTV. The key to success is to find the balance where they can retain the global brand image while respecting the local culture. MTV has to think globally and act locally.
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