Netflix to release more Arabic content productions in 2023 amid plans to expand in the region

Ahram Online , Monday 10 Oct 2022

Netflix is planning to release a number of its new Arabic content productions - films, TV series and a reality show - in 2023 as the US-based streaming giant eyes expansion in the Arab region.



Netflix have announced this week the release of multiple productions including The Exchange TV series (Kuwait), Dubai Bling series (United Arab Emirates), and Alkhallat+  film, the Matchmaker film and Masamer County season 2 (all from Saudi Arabia).

The world's leading streaming entertainment service - with 221 million paid memberships in over 190 countries - has been facing a tough competition in the Arab market from a number of international and regional streaming platforms.

Netflix competitors in the Arab market include Apple TV, Disney+, OSN, Amazon’s Prime Video as well as the Saudi Shahid VIP and Egyptian WatchIt, among others. 

The streaming giant has recently announced plans to include advertisements and tougher login measures in an effort to overcome financial difficulties amid a dwindling in the numbers of subscribers.

Netflix has recently released a number of Arabic content productions, including Saudi thriller Whispers of Hana Al-Omair and the Jordanian TV series Al-Rawabi School for Girls and the Egyptian TV series Finding Ola.

More seasons have been announced for Al-Rawabi School for Girls and Finding Ola after their noticeable success with viewers.

In September, Netflix and other streaming platforms have received a warning from Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Gulf countries not to broadcast content that "contradicts Islamic and societal values."

Netflix Arabic content includes several shows from Saudi Arabia such as Masameer County, Masameer the Film, Six Windows in the Desert, and Takki.

Its Arabic content also includes The Fastest, the first-ever Arabic-language unscripted reality show; Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb, an archaeological documentary; and The Swimmers, directed by Sally El-Hosaini and starring Khaled Abdulla, Ahmed Malek, and Kinda Alloush.

Netflix has also catalogued many Arab films under categories: Celebrating Arab Cinema, Palestinian StoriesBecause She Created, and New Saudi Voices.

It has announced plans to release several Arabic content productions soon and in 2023:

The Exchange (TV Series - Kuwait)

Launch date: Early 2023

The Exchange, a workplace drama, is created and written by Nadia Ahmad, Anne Sobel and Adam Sobel and directed by Karim ElShenawy and Jasem Al-Muhanna.

It follows two trailblazing women who disrupted the corrupt boys club of Kuwait’s banking industry in the late 1980s.

It stars Rawan Mahdi, Mona Hussain, Hussain Al-Mahdi, Mohamed Mansour, Faisal Al-Amiri, Jasemal Nabhan, Maryam Salih, Asmahan Tawfiq, Abdullah Bahman and others.

Alkhallat+ (Film - Saudi Arabia)

Launch date: 2023

The film, which is based on Telfaz11’s hit digital show Alkhallat, was first released in 2017, gaining over than 1.5 billion views on YouTube and other social media platforms.

It will feature four exciting comeback stories of social deception and trickery in four unlikely places, bringing the best of this beloved Saudi show to life.

The film is directed by Fahad Alammari, Alkhallat+, and stars Aziz Alshehri, Mohamed Aldokhie, IbraheemAlkhairallah, IbraheemAlhajjaj, Fahad Albutairi, Suhaib Godus, Ziyad Alamri, and Ismail Alhassan.

The Matchmaker (Film - Saudi Arabia)

Launch date: 2023

The Matchmaker is a psychological thriller with a supernatural slant set in Al Ula, covering universal themes like disloyalty and morality.

It is directed by Abdul-Mohsen Al-Dhabaan, and stars Hussam Alharthy, Reem Al-Habib, and Nour Alkhadra.


Masameer County (TV series - Season 2 - Saudi Arabia)

Launch date: 2023

The popular animated series - 8-episode  - chronicles changes in Saudi Arabia with quintessential wit and unique humor.

Dubai Bling (United Arab Emirates):

Launch date: 27 October 2022

Telling the story of ten self-made wealthy individuals living their wildest dream in the Bling City, the 8-episode Arabic docu-soap, drama-gossip feature:  famous radio host Kris Fade and his wife Brianna Ramirez; Saudi TV host and actress Lojain Omran; and Emirati DJ Marwan Al Awady and his wife Danya Mohammed, aka Diva De.

It also features known influencers, socialites, and business figures such as Zeina Khoury, Safa Siddiqui, Ebraheem Al-Samadi, Farhana Bodi, and Loujain Adadah.

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