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Monday, July 21, 2008

is MTV back ?

Al Akhbar newspaper reported today that MTV (Murr TV, not Music TV) once Lebanon's most hype TV channel, might start broadcasting again...

MTV's story in a glance

Founded by Lebanese politician Gabriel El Murr, and headed by son Michel El Murr, MTV was created to offer a "free alternative" in a very controlled Lebanese media scene (Syria was occupying Lebanon in 2000)

MTV opposed the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, and was a mouthpiece for Gabriel El Murr's political ambitions (Mr. Murr was a staunch anti-Syrian politician)

On September 2nd, 2002, the Syrians decided to close the channel (by force)
MTV tried to get back on air in September 2006 (after Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005), but lack of sufficient funds (after the 2006 summer war) prevented its reopening.

Future Prospects

MTV is reopening in order to offer anti Syrian Christians a media outlet (their main competitor - Gnl Michel Aoun - owns Orange TV) for the upcoming 2009 legislative elections.
Problem: Murr's main financial backer - Prince Walid Ben Talal- is already the "real" owner of Lebanon's leading Tv channel LBC

and LBC is itself engaged in a lawsuit againt the main anti-Syrian Christian party: the Lebanese Forces...(if you couldn't follow: it's a mess!!!)

What is sure is that the Lebanese advertising market cannot sustain more TV channels (7, for a market that can probably support only 2 channels) MTV will therefore need political/financial backers...which means; you can kiss independence goodbye!

BUT, the Murr family is also the owner of of the Arab world's largest production facility. The family knows the media business very well, and have proven before that they can attract very creative talent. Will MTV become another OTV ? (much expected, little delivered...) or a new LBC (shake a sleepy market)

to be continued...

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