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Mtv Networks The Arabian Challenge Case Study

Case Details:


Case Code:BSTR294For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
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International Business | Globalization Business
Case Length:14 Pages
Pub Date:2008
Teaching Note:Available
Organization:MTV Networks
Industry:Media, Entertainment, and Gaming
Countries :Middle East


MTV Networks (MTVN) had over the years developed a reputation for its ability to provide localized content without diluting what MTV stood for. However, the company faced the most challenging test in late 2007 with its launch of MTV Arabia in the Middle East, which some experts considered as the biggest launch in the channel's history. While the market in the Middle East offered MTVN with huge opportunities due to its huge youth populace, MTV's controversial content that was known for angering religious, political, and conservative communities could easily backfire in the conservative environment prevalent in the region.

On the other hand, too much localization to suit the tastes of the region could dilute MTV's global brand. The case discusses in detail the strategy adopted by MTVN to enter and expand in the Middle East and also the challenges faced by the channel.


» Understand the issues and challenges in entering and expanding operations in new markets which were culturally different from the organizations home/traditional/existing markets.

» Understand the pros and cons of entering a new market with a standardized/adapted product to suit local preferences.

» Analyze MTVN's strategy in the Middle East, identify challenges and explore strategies that the channel could adopt in the future.



Entry strategy, Expansion strategy, Localization strategy, Emerging markets, Environment, Social, Culture, Regulatory, Competition, MTV, MTV Arabia, Middle East

A Litmus Test for MTV's Localization Strategy- Next Page>>

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Background Note

MTV (short for Music Television), which pioneered the concept of a cable music channel, was launched on August 1, 1981, and marked the commencement of the cable TV revolution. It was promoted by Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company, a joint venture between Warner Communications and American Express. In 1984, the company was renamed MTV Networks (MTVN) with its operations confined to the US...

Preparing for the Launch

With the growing popularity of MTV, there was a mushrooming of many similar channels across the world.

Though the Arab media was late in adopting this concept, some European and US channels had started offering such programs in this region, analysts pointed out.

In the mid-1990s, some Arab music channels too entered the fray. Some of these channels were influenced by MTV...

MTV Enters the Middle East

MTV Arabia was considered by experts as the biggest launch in MTVI's history in terms of potential audience at launch. An exclusive, star-studded preview event marked the launch of MTV in the Middle East...

Rationale Behind the Venture

Favorable demographics had been one of the key rationales behind MTV's commercial launch in the Middle East...

Key Challenges and Success Strategy

MTV was known for airing sexually explicit and provocative programmes. In other words, it carried with it an image of open Western culture. This explicit Western culture projected by MTV went contrary to the socially conservative culture of the Middle East and could be a key bottleneck to the channel's acceptance in the Arab region, according to analysts...

The Road Ahead

MTVN catered to a huge market segment of nearly 2 billion people worldwide and was expected to provide a global platform for Arabic music and culture. It had influenced young people all over the world and given them a voice and it would try to do the same in the Middle East...


Exhibit I: MTV Arabia Logo
Exhibit II: A Note on Viacom Inc.
Exhibit III: Selected Quarterly Financials of Viacom
Exhibit IV: Music and Entertainment Channels in Saudi Arabia
Exhibit V: Local Productions to be Aired on MTV Arabia
Exhibit VI: The Top 20 Shows on MTV Arabia as on January 3, 2008

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