While based in Dubai, Rise Studios will have a regional footprint as demand for exclusive content from the Middle East sees a clear spike from OTT and satellite TV broadcasters. [L: Emad Morcos, Chairman and Co-Founder, TR: Amel Farag, Co-Founder, BL: Amanda Turnbull, CEO and Co-Founder] Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A new company focussing on entertainment content for Middle East productions has been launched by former senior officials with OTT platforms such as OSN and Warner Bros Discover.

Rise Studios, which is the name of the new entity and headquartered in Dubai, comes into being as global and regional satellite/video-on-demand/subscription based platforms place greater emphasis on Arabic language content. And exclusive ones, where possible.

The new production house will be led by Emad Morcos, former OSN chief content and commercial officer; Amanda Turnbull, previous general manager at Warner Bros Discovery Middle East, Africa and Turkey; and Amel Farag, former head of content commercial strategy at OSN.

Content hungry

And the need for premium and exclusive content from within the region is showing no signs of slowing down. A lot of that is generated from Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom embarks on creating its own entertainment ecosystem. It also means fertile ground for Rise.

“As the Saudi film industry undergoes rapid growth, it is imperative that we create hyper-local content and tell stories from the rich heritage and traditions of the Kingdom,” said Omar Hussein, founder of Black Typhoon. “Looking forward to this partnership and how we can tell the best of stories to an audience eagerly waiting for premium quality content.” 

First to tie up with Rise was the Egyptian scripted series specialist, Partner Pro, and advertising creative house ASAP headed by film director Sherif Arafa and Amin El Masri, along with Lebanese and UAE based factual reality firm Different Productions, headed by Mazen Laham. There is also Watan Network headed by Bassel Khair, apart from Omar Hussein Black Typhoon, which is funded for the specific development of original content in Saudi Arabia.

Watan Network draws over 5 billion combined views monthly across platforms and 14 billion watch time minutes a month on YouTube, Facebook and Snap. “We are very excited to join the Rise Studios family; we have built our core business around digital content consumption and see this relationship as a natural progression," said Bassel Khair, Executive Manager for Watan Network. We understand how important it is to viewers to consume content across all screens and are keen to grow Watan Network further with the addition of new content verticals and Originals for platforms."