• Asharq Documentary is an Arabic language free-to-air factual documentary multi-platform, uncovering the stories behind the headlines in politics, business and economics, and history
• Launch reflects global industry trends in content creation and growing audience appetite for more long-form, high-quality documentaries that provide an in-depth look into the issues captivating the world today
• The new channel will produce original content, ensuring a focus on stories and perspectives from the region, and fostering the growth of local talent
• The launch is part of SRMG’s ongoing transformation and growth strategy, which seeks to enhance and expand its media portfolio whilst providing support to the region’s wider media, information, and entertainment production ecosystem
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: 30th August 2023 – SRMG, the largest integrated media group from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, has announced the launch of Asharq Documentary which is set to go live this Sunday, 3rd September at 5pm (GMT+3). Asharq Documentary is an exciting new Arabic free-to-air factual documentary multi-platform. In response to the increasing demand in the region for documentaries, Asharq Documentary will offer a deep dive into topics including politics, business and economics, and history. It will also offer unique insights and in-depth analysis on the latest trends, events, and influential figures shaping the world today. Asharq Documentary is the latest addition to the award-winning ‘Asharq News Network’, which includes Asharq News, Asharq Business with Bloomberg, and the soon-to-launch Asharq Discovery.
According to our survey, more than 80% of those interviewed in MENA want more and higher quality Arabic content, illustrating that there is exceptional demand and a gap in the region for this type of content. Furthermore, SRMG's Asharq News channel has already aired over 400 hours of quality documentaries with strong viewing figures and positive audience engagement - underlining the strong appetite for high-quality Arabic language documentary programmes in the region.
One of the key differentiators of Asharq Documentary is its dedicated, in-house production capabilities which will provide access to exclusive, home-grown quality programming, looking beyond the leading regional and global news headlines to provide in-depth and bold analysis. This in-house produced content will complement the channel’s licensed and acquired content. Whilst there is currently a deficit of locally produced documentaries, Asharq Documentary is uniquely positioned to fill this void by delivering original content that supports the regional filmmaking industry and fosters local and regional talent.
Commenting on the launch, Jomana R. Al-Rashid, CEO of SRMG said: 'The MENA region currently lacks a comprehensive Arabic language documentary channel that delves into the topics shaping our world today. SRMG has seized the opportunity to expand into this untapped market by creating Asharq Documentary – a new free-to-air factual documentary multi-platform dedicated to uncovering the stories behind the trending headlines and delving deeper into the related facts and information. The new multi-platform will provide unprecedented access to Arabic language documentaries – including new content produced in-house, specifically for the region. Asharq Documentary is a further demonstration of SRMG's growth and expansion strategy to stay at the forefront of change by providing our audience with high-quality and thought-provoking content.'
Mohammed Al Yousei, Manager of Asharq Documentary stated: 'Asharq Documentary aims to become the leading platform for prominent political documentaries, providing in-depth coverage of regional and international events. Asharq Documentary will produce factual films covering a wide range of topics including politics, economics, business, and history. The multi-platform offers in-depth insights and analysis utilizing state-of-the-art technology in our production process, to bring the content to life.'
At launch, Asharq Documentary will feature a diverse lineup of insightful Arabic language documentaries, such as:
• ‘America and the Taliban’ – an epic three-part investigation that examines America’s 20- year investment in Afghanistan. The film includes on-the-ground reporting and interviews with U.S. and Taliban officials.
• ‘Nuclear NOW’ – by the Oscar winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, this documentary explores the possibility for the global community to unlock a new energy source to save the planet.
• ‘Space War’ – a film that examines how the global competition to access space has created a new area of conflict and economic interest amongst the world's superpowers.
• ‘Real Madrid’ – an inspiring story showcasing the great victories and legendary players that contributed to Real Madrid becoming the world’s greatest football phenomenon.
Asharq Documentary will be accessible through its dedicated television channel and social media accounts, as well as through live streaming and on-demand services via Asharq NOW.