Middle East Broadcasting Center

The Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), branded in the Arab world as MBC Group, is the largest private free-to-air satellite broadcasting company in the Middle East & North Africa region. It was launched in London in 1991 and later moved to its headquarters to Dubai in 2002. The group has a plethora of channel ranging from news to music and entertainment, some of these include MBC1, MBC2, MBC MAX, MBC3, MBC4, MBC Action, MBC Persia, MBC Bollywood, Al Arabiya, Wanasah and MBC Drama. The Group also has two radio stations: MBC FM, Panorama FM.

Middle East Broadcasting Center
FoundedSeptember 18, 1991 (1991-09-18)
SloganWe See Hope Everywhere
HeadquartersDubai, United Arab Emirates
OwnerSaudi Arabian Government (60%); Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim (40%)
Key people
Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, Chairman
Sam Barnett (CEO)[1]
Abdul Aziz bin Fahd (major shareholder)
Official website

MBC was the first broadcaster to provide a satellite-based free-to-air 24-hour television network across the Arab world. It has remained privately owned, managed by a group of businessmen and shareholders, including chairman and CEO Sheikh Waleed Al Ibrahim. The shareholder list has never been verified although an American academic states that it is owned by members of the Saudi royal family and cablegate leaks revealed the US Ambassador had been told that MBC is owned by Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, the chairman of the channel and brother-in-law of the late King Fahd, half of the profits go to King Fahd's son, Abdulaziz bin Fahd.[2]

MBC's television arm, MBC TV, broadcasts via Arabsat and Nilesat satellites. MBC Headquarters is located in Dubai Media City. The company has more than 1,800 staff members worldwide. The first station in the group, MBC1, offers both entertainment and news content. MBC News at 9 pm provides coverage of domestic and international news. Building on the success of News at 9 pm, and in response to the perceived need from the Arabic audience, Al Arabiya was launched in March 2003 as a 24-hour free-to-air news and current affairs station.

MBC channels and services

All of MBC channel are free-to-air channels except for the HD channels and MBC Plus Variety. They are available on OSN, STC's Invision IPTV and my-HD satellite service. They are all Pay-TV service providers in the Middle East.


Launched in 1991 as the first independent Pan-Arab channel, MBC 1 is the first free-to-air private satellite channel, bringing entertainment into Arab homes. Today, hosting the news service in the region and with a commitment to local programming- from soap operas to hit reality TV shows.


The first free-to-air movie channel in the Arab world, MBC 2 offers a 24-hour non-stop stream of Hollywood movies, from blockbusters to classics and international films. Long kisses on the lips and any sexual related acts are cut from the films. Strong violence is also censored.


A children’s entertainment channel which delivers a programming mix of children's education and entertainment for Arab kids aged between three and thirteen. MBC 3 also airs a locally produced reality show for kids, Eish Safari, which recruits young Arab kids and sets them on a month-long trip of mental and physical challenges. Recently, the channel produced a new game show called "Graduate In A Day", similar in concept to "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" for children and their parents.


The Arab world’s first exclusive tailored channel for women, MBC 4 broadcasts Western entertainment, airs prime time shows such as Oprah, Dr. Oz, The Doctors Show, House, The Office, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance and popular Turkish and Brazilian drama series dubbed into Arabic. Today, the channel is geared towards MBC own production, based on international formats, as well as acquired Arabic content from across the region. The channel has aired the biggest production for the Group, Arabs' Got Talent, in addition to various other shows, some MBC produced, others co-produced or through acquisitions.

MBC 5[lower-alpha 1]

A channel dedied to family entertainment will be launched on 21 September 2019. Targeting North African countries.[3]

MBC Bollywood

MBC launched MBC Bollywood on 26 October 2013, the same day as the season three premiere of Arabs' Got Talent.[4] MBC Bollywood is MBC Group's 14th channel,[5] and it is aimed to air 24 hours of Hindi films, either subtitled or dubbed in Arabic, targeting South Asian audiences, and Arab Bollywood enthusiasts & also onair Indian dramas


MBC launched MBC Masr on 9 November 2012, and it is a division of MBC studios situated in Egypt and targeting Egyptian viewers.

MBC Masr 2

This channel was the two hours time-shifted service, but now it's a second channel for Egypt and has a different content.

MBC Action

A channel that targets young Arab males. It delivers Western series, movies and action reality shows. Some of its prime time shows include The Mentalist (exclusive on MBC Action), The Vampire Diaries (exclusive on MBC Action), Fringe (Exclusive on MBC Action), Supernatural, V (exclusive on MBC Action), WWE (exclusive on MBC Action) and True Blood. The channel recently produced its first production, Driven, which is a weekly "magazine" format show about cars, similar to Top Gear, which they also broadcast the British and American versions of the BBC's Top Gear.


The MBC Group’s second 24-hour movie channel which caters to a younger audience. The channel airs Western, comedy, action, romance and drama movies as well as classic and new Bollywood films.

MBC Drama

One of the latest additions to the Group, which was officially launched on 27 November 2010. It is a family channel, with 24/7 Arabic drama series. The launch coincides with the Group’s 20th anniversary, and marks our 10th channel launch. The channel runs a variety of different dramas: Egyptian, Syrian, Bedouin and Gulf dramas that are 1st runs and exclusive runs, in addition to Turkish, Mexican and Indian dramas dubbed into Arabic. MBC Drama is distinguished by the two additional repeats throughout the day, offering its viewers the choice of time, based on their various lifestyles and viewership trends. Do not confuse this channel with MBC's subscription-based channel MBC+ Drama.

MBC+ variety

Previously called MBC Persia It is a 24-hour entertainment channel that airs Western and Arabic variety content. The two most popular dubbed series are NUR (Turkish series) and Grey’s Anatomy. The channel is now exclusively on arabsat, my-hd platform.

Al Arabiya

A 24-hour free-to-air news channel which was launched in 2003. The channel also airs several documentaries.

MBC FM and Panorama FM

These radio stations are the MBC Group’s Arabic radio stations in Saudi that broadcast music, talk shows, competitions and local coverage of events and news. MBC FM plays local and Gulf music while Panorama FM delivers contemporary Arabic and Western tunes.


A 24-hour music channel that targets the Arab youth, mainly in the Persian Gulf region. The channel offers music videos, concerts, music & lifestyle programs as well as series.


One of the Arabic entertainment web portals in the region with a mix of sports, entertainment, movies and music content, along with its user interactivity and social networking features.


The online website of Al Arabiya, one of the most popular interactive news portals in the Arab world, offering latest news, views and in-depth features. With its commitment to user generated content, AlArabiya.net allows its user to interact freely with news, whilst the video forum gives budding journalists and documentary makers the opportunity to broadcast their material. The site can be browsed in Arabic, English, Urdu, and Persian. Alarabiya.net recently launched the world's first live streaming service in High Definition (HD) which offers the channel's viewers a new and enhanced way of following news, with a 24-hour call back.


The first free "video on demand" website in the Arab region. The portal is also the first of its kind to provide series, programs, cartoons, and documentaries from the content of MBC channels as well as other Arabic channels. Launched with over 90 titles, the website already offers prime time show programming, twenty six of which are new Ramadan 2010 releases that cover almost every genre; from comedy, to drama and gaming.

O3 production

A subsidiary of the MBC Group specializing in a variety of production and post production services. They are one of the regional market leaders in producing and distributing content as well as providing programming, documentaries, docu-dramas, factual entertainment, reality shows, Arabic drama, dubbed drama, and more.

MBC Facilities

In 2002, MBC Facilities was established to cater to the needs of the broadcast and production industry.

MBC Pro Sports

MBC Pro Sports are 4 24-hour free-to-air Satellite-TV channels that broadcast the Saudi Football Premier League, Saudi King's Cup and Saudi Supercup. It also broadcasts TV series that analyze both Saudi and worldwide football matches. It was launched for the 2014/15 Season due to the loss of Saudi Sport Channels to the right of broadcasting the League.

Use of technology

In 2010, MBC Max provided the ability to watch English movies with Arabic voices, along with watching English movies (English voices) with or without Arabic subtitles.

In July 2011, MBC launched 7 of its channels in HD which includes MBC 1, MBC 2, MBC 4, MBC Action, MBC Max, MBC Drama and Alarabiya. These HD versions of these channels are encrypted using Conax while SD are FTA.

Online platforms


On 17 September 2013, the Anti-Defamation League criticized the network for using a clip of the 2009 film Inglourious Basterds in which the Adolf Hitler character was speaking to other Nazis, with the subtitles replaced with advertisements for the network. The League said "The use of such imagery contributes to the trivialization of and desensitization to the unparalleled horrors of the Holocaust."[6]


  1. "Sam Barnett becomes MBC CEO". Dubai News. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  2. "Cable reference id: #09RIYADH651 - Cablegate Search Archive". Cablegate Search Archive. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  3. https://www.mbc.net/pages/MBC5/newsfeed
  4. "MBC launches Bollywood channel". Arab News. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  5. "MBC promises 'fresh approach' to Bollywood with new channel". Al Arabiya. 26 October 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  6. ADL Official blog


  1. 5 is pronounced "cinq" in French.
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