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  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
  • Contract signed between MBC Group, Talpa, & Sony Pictures Television Arabia
  • The global TV format "The Voice" comes to MBC in the MENA region
  • Dubai, UAE May 14th 2012: During a press conference held at MBC Group Headquarters in Dubai, a contract was signed between MBC Group, Talpa and Sony Pictures Television ("SPT") Arabia, by which MBC Group acquired the exclusive rights to broadcast the international TV format "The Voice", on multi-platforms, across the Middle East and North Africa ("MENA") region. SPT Arabia- the producer- which represents Talpa formats in the region will co-produce the show in its local adaptation.

    Ali Jaber, Group TV Director, MBC Group, said: "We are pleased to announce this multi-year agreement today, in our capacity as the exclusive broadcaster of this international format that has gained much popularity and viewership across the world. We now offer the 3 strongest talent show formats in the region, across multi-platforms, and look forward to continuously bring the best of entertainment to our loyal viewers, browsers and followers." Jaber added: "Talent shows have positively affected the TV viewing habits, patterns and trends in the region, while further enhancing the family viewing experience and raising the levels of engagement with TV content, through social media and other platforms."

    From his side, Maarten Meijs, Managing Director of Talpa Distribution, the owner of the format, commented: "In the Western world, 'The Voice' is recognized as a new generation in its genre. We trust the same will happen in the MENA region, regardless of cultural differences, as all people love music and have their one unique language to discuss who and what they like the most."

    Further elaborating on this partnership, Ziad Kebbi, President of SPT Arabia, added: "We're very excited to co-produce 'The Voice' – the format is a blockbuster and now it's our region's turn to take up the mantle. In particular, social media and digital extension will play a major role in our production activity; both key elements in uniting the audience across various territories."

    In 2011 and earlier this year "The Voice of Holland", the original version of the show, was the most watched talent competition in the history of Dutch TV. In the US, with network NBC, "The Voice" was the number one show when it comes to the introduction of a new entertainment formats on TV in many years. Both France (TF1) and UK (BBC) witnessed similar popularity and viewership ratings. By early 2012, "The Voice" was commissioned to over 45 broadcasters all over the world and on air in some 140 territories. And today "The Voice" has been added to MBC Group – covering the MENA region.

    Auditions for "The Voice" are being organized in countries including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait, Tunisia, Lebanon and Morocco, and others. The show will broadcast from MBC's studios in Beirut- Lebanon, soon.

    "The Voice" as a format

    The series consists of three phases: a Blind Audition, a Battle Phase, and Live performance shows. Four coaches, all famous musicians, will choose teams of contestants through a blind audition process. Each coach has the length of the auditionee's performance to decide if he or she wants that singer on his or her team; if two or more judges want the same singer then the singer gets to choose which coach they want to work with.

    Each team of singers will be mentored and developed by their coach. In the second stage, coaches will have two of their team members' battle against each other by singing the same song, with the coach choosing which team member will advance to the next stage. In the final phase, the remaining contestants will compete against each other in live broadcasts. The television audience will help to decide who moves on. When one team member remains for each coach, the contestants will compete against each other in the finale.

    For further information:

    Ruba Al Ayed
    Group PR Manager
    MBC Group
    Mobile: +971 56 6038358
    Email: ruba.alayed@mbc.net
    Website: www.mbc.net

    SPT Arabia,
    Mark Macdonald, +44 20 7533 1363
    Mark_macdonald@spe.sony.com

    Talpa Holding,
    Thomas Notermans, +31 (0)35 53 33 333 / +31 (0)6 53 108 978
    tnotermans@talpa.tv

    ABOUT MBC GROUP
    MBC Group is the first private free-to-air satellite broadcasting company in the Arab World which was launched in London in 1991 and later moved to its headquarters in Dubai in 2002. Over the past 20 years, MBC Group has grown to become a well-established media group that enriches people's lives through information, interaction and entertainment. Based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, MBC Group includes 11 television channels: MBC1 (general family entertainment), MBC2 and MBC MAX (24-hour movies), MBC3 (children's entertainment), MBC4 (entertainment for new Arab women), MBC Action (action series and movies), MBC Persia (24-hour movie channel dubbed in Farsi) , Al Arabiya (the 24-hour Arabic language news channel); Al Arabiya Al Hadath (an extension of Al Arabiya News Channel); Wanasah (24-hour Arabic music channel) and MBC DRAMA coinciding with the Group's 20th anniversary, and offers 24/7 Arabic Drama; the Group also includes two radio stations: MBC FM (Gulf music), and Panorama FM (contemporary Arabic hit music); as well as O3 productions, a specialized documentary production unit. It has also several online platforms: www.mbc.net, www.alarabiya.net, www.shahid.net, the first free VOD protal in the Arab World.
    As of July 2011, seven of MBC Group's channels began to air in HD across the MENA Region; the channels are: MBC 1, MBC 2, MBC 4, MBC Action, MBC Drama, MBC Max and Al Arabiya News Channel.

    ABOUT TALPA HOLDING (www.talpa.tv)
    Talpa, based in Laren, the Netherlands, is the holding firm that comprises John de Mol's media activities. The company has its focus on several parts of the international media industry. In the past few years Talpa Holding established itself as a full service development and production company. With Talpa Content the group operates its own creative development unit aimed at formats for television and multimedia concepts. Genres include reality, daily and weekly infotainment magazines, variety, game shows, fiction, comedy and feature film. Talpa Productions is the group's own TV production unit. Talpa Distribution is dedicated to the worldwide licensing of Talpa Content's formats and finished series.
    When it comes to the free to air platforms radio and TV, Talpa Media Group is a shareholder in SBS Nederland (www.sbs.nl) which operates three open air TV stations, SBS6, NET5 and Veronica. Radio stations Radio 538, Radio 10 Gold and Slam FM (www.radio538.nl) are fully owned by Talpa.
    Talpa Holding operates its own music division Talpa Music (www.talpamusic.nl).
    In 2010 Talpa acquired a stake in successful Russian producer Mir Reality. Besides this, Talpa and Shine France have a fifty-fifty joint venture aimed at the exploitation of Talpa formats in Europe's French speaking markets. The cooperation with SPT's Toro Produzioni in Italy is similar, like the ones with SPT Arabia for North Africa, The Middle East and a vast part of Sub Sahara Africa, with Axel Springer's Schwartzkopff TV in Germany and CBV in Portugal. Talpa and Shine Australia work together in Australia and New Zealand. Talpa and Nordisk Film TV set up a joint venture aimed at the TV markets in Scandinavia and Finland.

    ABOUT SONY PICTURES TELEVISION
    Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry's leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment around the world and for every platform: broadcast and cable television, first-run and off-network syndication and digital distribution. In addition to one of the industry's largest libraries of feature films and television shows, SPT boasts a current program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. Internationally, SPT produces 6,000+ hours of programming annually in over 70 countries. SPT is a leader in local language productions, some of which are co-produced with local partners, and sells SPE-owned formats around the world. To better serve its clients and partners worldwide, SPT maintains offices throughout the world, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, the People's Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. SP's worldwide television networks portfolio is a key strategy in SPE's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with 119 channel feeds, which are available in 161 countries reaching more than 715 million households worldwide. SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE's premium video website, Crackle. Additionally, SPT owns Dutch entertainment company 2waytraffic, production company Embassy Row and Sony Movie Channel, and is a part owner of cable channel GSN, new 3D channel 3net, FEARnet, the premier horror/thriller website and VOD service, and national media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT advertiser sales is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT's syndicated series as well as in all of SPE's digital businesses in the United States. SPT (www.sonypicturestelevision.com) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.