Free Arabic Version for Information-based TV Channel

ABU DHABI — A free Arabic version of the National Geographic Channel (NGC) called NGC Abu Dhabi will be available after a partnership deal between NGC and Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) was signed
on Wednesday.

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Published: Fri 10 Jul 2009, 12:43 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:55 PM

Since no subscription is required, the costs of the channel will be covered solely from advertising, company officials stated. Viewers on Arab Nile Sat since July 1 have been getting the channel free of charge.

“The launch of the channel in Arabic marks the first time in the Middle East that high quality National Geographic content will be delivered to the region’s viewers dubbed into their native language and also the first time that a National Geographic channel will be available free-to-air,” said Ward Platt, president of Asia, Pacific and the Middle East NGC.

For the time being, the programming is almost entirely international, with local and regional documentaries still to come.

“Usually, most of NGC programming is global, with only 5-10 percent local content”, mentioned Platt.

Although he would not give any details, Karim Sarkis, executive director of Radio and Television at ADMC, said that two already existing regional programmes will be aired on the new Arabic NGC, while new documentaries will be produced.

The broadcasting content includes a mixture of Nat Geo Science, Wildlife and MEGA (showcasing the world’s mega-structures, mega-cities, mega-factories and mega-movers) from 6 pm to 9 pm (UAE time).

Weekly, there is a Theme Week slot presenting Fight Science, Most Amazing Moments or Food and Travel, which are meant to be some of NGC’s most action-packed and topical programmes.

During prime time on weekdays (10 pm–12 am), there is a different genre programme each night – Nat Geo Science (Sundays), featuring Incredible Human Machines and World’s Most Bizarre Dinosaurs; Nat Geo Action (Mondays); Nat Geo confidential (Tuesday) presenting real-life investigations; Disastertainment (Wednesdays),showing material such as Air Crash and Seconds from Disaster; and Showcase (Thursdays), airing documentaries about current affairs or grand premiers. An interactive websitewill also be available for viewers at

As for the Arabic dubbing of the programmes, Sarkis explained that it is done mostly in Lebanese, Syrian and Egyptian Arabic, but for the time being, this is on a trial basis.

“We’ll see how it goes. Maybe we will also introduce or switch to formal and Gulf Arabic later on,” said Sarkis.

No date was given yet, but Platt confirmed that NGC is also having talks with ADMC about launching the National Geographic magazine inArabic here.

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