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Netflix looks to expand Arabic language content

Netflix Arabic
A view of the Netflix Arabic home screen. The company recently announced it would make a big push into more Arabic language content. (Photo: Handout from Netflix)
AMMAN — Netflix, the streaming giant delivering hundreds of TV shows and movies to the comfort of your home, recently announced it is expanding into a crucial market — Arabic language content. اضافة اعلان

With a combination of both original content made specifically for the streaming platform and Arabic classics, the service provides a wealth of Arabic series and films for every viewer, the company said in a statement sent to Jordan News. Netflix programming is available in over 190 countries across the world, with over 204 million paid subscribers.

As part of this expansion, the company said that interested fans hoping to support local Jordanian production should keep their eyes peeled for a women-led Jordanian TV show that will be released this summer. The show, called “Al Rawabi School for Girls,” features an all-female cast and crew. Jordanian producer, director, writer, and comedy actress Tima Shomali wrote and directed the series, which is one of Netflix’s first Arabic original series. It will tell the story of a bullied school girl on a quest for revenge against her bullies.

Previously, Netflix has debuted the Arabic original series “Jinn,” which was also produced in Jordan, and “Paranormal,” a supernatural-horror Egyptian series which features a hematologist who unwillingly gets drawn into the world of supernatural investigations.

Netflix’s Middle Eastern content has also proven popular outside of the region, according to the statement. The documentary “Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb,” which follows a team of Egyptian archaeologists who discovered a tomb from the 25th century BC. The film was viewed by 22 million households in the first four weeks after its release, making it one of the top 5 documentary films in Netflix’s history.

In addition to new original series, viewers can also dip into the golden era of Arabic cinema through a special collection called “Arabic Nostalgia,” featuring classic Arabic films, including the works of actors Adel Imam, Abdulhussain Abdulredha, Saeed Saleh, Younis Shalabi, Ahmad Zaki, and Hasan Mustafa.

Netflix has also made efforts to make all of its original content accessible to an Arabic-speaking  audience, which is expansive, the statement said, adding that over 400 million people around the world speak Arabic.

All of this comes as the company seeks to solidify its presence in emerging markets, according to a New York Times article published in April of this year, which said the majority of the company’s revenue now comes from such places.

In its statement, company added that it has also taken an effort to combat hardship in the Arab world in collaboration with the Arab Fund for Arts & Culture. Netflix established the Lebanon Hardship Fund, which has a $500,000 budget to help crew, craftspeople, and freelancers in the film and television industry in Lebanon affected by COVID-19 and the Beirut port explosion.

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