The distribution arm of FremantleMedia has opened an office in the Middle East. FremantleMedia Enterprises’ office will be based in Dubai and run by Anahita Kheder, who has been hired as VP, Middle East.
Kheder has a background in branded entertainment and marketing and will report to Mark Newton, FME’s executive VP, licensing, EMEA. She will work closely with Jamie Lynn, FME’s London-based senior VP, distribution, Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa to exploit the company’s formats and kids and family entertainment properties in the region.
FME has already shopped its Got Talent format into the region and recently inked a deal for a local version of Idol.
Arab Idol will air on MBC, the pan-regional broadcaster whose ten channels account for half of all of the advertising spend in the region. Kheder will be trying to add to the roster of sponsors for the show, which already include General Motors and Pepsi.
David Ellender, FME’s global CEO, added, “The Middle East is currently one of the fastest growing markets globally and we’re looking forward to building on our existing relationships there. This new office, our 12th worldwide, will allow us to manage our formats even more effectively and maximise commercial opportunities across even more platforms. “
FME is following in the footsteps of other production and distribution groups that have opened up shop in the Middle East. The likes of Sony Pictures Television and Endemol have opened offices in the region, which, according to the Arab Advisors Group, now has 500 free-to-air channels, a 10.5% increase year-on-year.