Peter Smith, left, and Sam Barnett, MBC Group CEO.

MBC Group announced on Monday morning that it will launch MBC Studios in order to increase quality film and television production in the region, with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia.

Peter Smith joined the new subsidiary as the managing director. He was previously the president of international home entertainment at Universal Pictures International and the president of NBC Universal International.

The main goal of MBC Studios is to grow focus on international film and TV drama series that would resonate with audiences in the Middle East and North Africa. It will make the most of an “untapped story reservoir in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and the rest of the Mena region, according to a statement, and work towards producing compelling cinema, television and on-demand content.

“The future is certainly positive for MBC Studios especially in terms of leveraging the significant trend for non-English language television content to travel to more global markets,” Smith said.

The introduction of MBC Studios could also open up more job opportunities in the industry, and help to advance creative and technical skills.

It’s part of MBC Group’s five-year growth plan, spearheaded by chairman Waleed Al Ebrahim, to create first-rate content for a regional audience.