First Arabic health channel set for October launch

Charisma Group has been awarded the media management contract for a new Arabic language health channel by pan Arab network operator Sah TV, which will focus on the GCC and start broadcasting in October 2011.

Sah TV will be a thematic channel providing viewers with trusted health information helping them take better control of their health and wellness, through tailored, entertaining and progressive content.

Charisma signed a five year contract citing its comprehensive understanding of the regional media landscape and their experience of developing content relevant to a regional Arabic audience as reasons why they successfully gained the contract.

“Considering the unhealthy lifestyles and poor diets throughout the region, we are aggravating the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Consequently, it is no surprise that 22 per cent of viewers in the Mena region specially chose to watch health related programmes according to a 2009 TGI regional survey,” said Ayman Al Zyoud, CEO and founder of Charisma Group.  
    
“Health is no longer an exclusive topic for healthcare professionals, the viewing public now want to be more informed in order to live a healthier life,” added Al Zyoud.

The new channel will be broadcast via Nilesat and Arabsat. It will feature consumer style programming, focusing on health and wellness issues ranging from obesity and diabetes to cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases such as Asthma and pleural effusion, most commonly brought on by smoking.

The programming mix will offer a balance between information and entertainment, through a range of progressive news, documentaries, talk shows, and reality TV.

The business case for a channel of this genre is compelling. An increasing number of consumers now, more than ever before, are considerably more health conscious. The GCC population is estimated at 38.6 million and at 3% per annum, has one of the fastest rates in the world today, with the ‘over-60-year olds’ emerging as one of the fastest growing demographics.

In addition the GCC is an area of high disposable income, averaging $23,200 per capita in 2010. Add to that the ‘diseases of affluence’ – according to the International Diabetes Federation, the UAE has the second highest prevalence of diabetes in the world, with 20 people out of every hundred (20 per cent) positively diagnosed, followed by Saudi Arabia at nearly 17 per cent, Bahrain over 15 per cent and Kuwait at 14.4 per cent.

All in all, the regional healthcare industry is poised for a very strong growth, and healthcare players are actively looking for quality media outlets to reach out to the general population.

The commercial potential is revealed when the current statistics are examined. According to IPSOS, collectively the healthcare industry currently spends $224 million annually on advertising, representing just two per cent of the total gross advertising spent regionally in 2009.

Furthermore, leading regional TV channels have started introducing stand-alone health related shows within their programming grids, many of them during prime time. These programmes alone generated $38.7 million in 2009.

“Of course, it is not all about the return on investment. It is about enjoyable learning experiences designed to help individuals and communities improve their health. By increasing their knowledge and redefining their expectations, people will finally get to take control over their wellbeing.” added Al Zyoud.   

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