Zodiak Media, Canal+ alum appointed to head up Middle East’s MBC

Marc Antoine d’Halluin

Former Zodiak Media and Canal+ executive Marc Antoine d’Halluin has been appointed as CEO at MBC Group, the Saudi Arabia-controlled broadcaster that is the largest in the Middle East.

D’Halluin will join the company on January 5 and replaces Sam Barnett, who left in October after 17 years.

The new CEO previously served as chairman of M7 Group, which operates in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovakia. He was also CEO of Zodiak Media and spent two years as the CEO of Showtime Arabia, as well as three years as CEO of Canal+ from 2003 to 2006.

MBC owns a number of satellite TV channels such as 24-hour news station Al Arabiya. The Saudi government took a controlling stake in the group in 2018, following the seizure of assets of those implicated in crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s anti-corruption campaign.

The broadcaster claims to reach 140 million viewers a day and is increasing its focus on premium streaming platforms Shahid and Shahid Plus.

The group also recently launched its Shahid Originals unit, with former Hulu exec Johannes Larcher hired as its head. Shahid recently launched its first original production, called El Diva.

The company has also continued to expand MBC Studios under the watch of former NBCUniversal International president Peter Smith, and in November aired the US$40m series Kingdoms Of Fire.

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