After debuting on 11 September, El Gomhoreya TV, Egypt’s first ever online television channel, has already generated a not-inconsiderable fan-base, according to project manager Nadine Khedr.
El Gomhoreya TV is owned by Cairo-based media firm Core Virtual, a sister company of Core Publications, known for publishing youth-oriented magazines such as Campus and E7na.
Like the magazines, the new internet channel caters primarily - but not exclusively - to young people.
“It’s a platform for the many talented Egyptian and Arab young people out there who have great ideas and potential,” says Khedr. “We aim to provide a revolutionised form of media providing high-quality, unique content that informs, entertains and educates.”
“We realised that there were no honest and unbiased media here in Egypt, especially for youth,” Khedr adds, describing El Gomhoreya TV as “the first medium of its kind in Egypt.”
Although the channel launched less than three weeks ago, it already boasts 816 subscribers and over 5,000 viewers, while its Twitter and Facebook pages are full of comments from satisfied users. “The revolution has opened a great door for creativity… great motivation,” commented one viewer. Another said: “Very creative and interesting content.”
The channel currently features weekly programming with a variety of themes.
Hisb El-Kanaba (‘The Couch Party’), for example, tells the story of an Egyptian couple that continue to support ousted president Hosni Mubarak. Sitting in their living room, the two discuss current issues in Egypt. From politics to social issues, the show presents attitudes and viewpoints in a satirical way.
The channel’s most popular program with young viewers, meanwhile, is El Mahkama (‘The Court’), a weekly/comedy thriller that follows the adventures of an Egyptian general prosecutor who investigates mysterious crimes. The show is interactive, allowing viewers to participate in solving the crime each week. “We replay each episode over and over to get clues,” comments one viewer.
Since online television channels are still new to Egypt, according to Khedr, there was no need to obtain an official license before launching. “Like any website or publication in Egypt, we only needed to obtain approval,” she says.
Khedr goes on to note that El Gomhoreya TV is not only hoping to increase its volume of weekly shows and blogs, but also to encourage the participation of Egyptian and Arab youth.
“Going online allows us to reach audiences from all over the region and not just Egypt,” she says. “We want to be the go-to site for such audiences for reliable and creative content that's not only informative but entertaining as well.”
El Gomhoreya TV can be found online at www.elgomhoreya.tv