The Leading Media Group in the MENA Region


MBC Group is the largest and leading media company in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. Following the success of the Group’s CEO, Sam Barnett, in the 2019 CEO of the Year programme, we take a closer look to find out more about the meteoric rise of this media leviathan.

Though MBC Group was originally established in London, in 1991, it has seen extraordinary growth since relocating to Dubai in 2002. Indeed, since then and over the last seventeen years, the group has become an undisputed leader, both in the MENA region and the Media industry, inspired by the media visionary Chairman Waleed Al Ibrahim and spurred on by CEO Sam Barnett.

Today, MBC Group spans 18 top-rated TV channels, including MBC1 and MBC4 – which offer general family entertainment; the English-language, film-focused MBC2 and MBC MAX; children’s network MBC3; MBC MASR and MBC MASR2, which offer general family entertainment geared towards Egyptian families and MBC Iraq serving Iraqi families, among other channels and offerings. Original content is also at the core of operations, with MBC Studios producing the region’s most compelling premium content for cinema, television and on-demand platforms.

Perhaps this explains how MBC Group has grown to become an undisputed media conglomerate – with an intense dedication to diversity and cultural variety. Barnett echoes this most fundamental of ethos, describing the Group’s company culture as a deeply “enriching atmosphere”, driven by people who are ambitious, passionate, talented and resilient.

Diversity too can be seen in the organisation’s efforts to expand into other outlets and applications; this is a company eager to push boundaries and to innovate. MBC has launched the largest Arabic Video-On-Demand (VOD) platforms, SHAHID and SHAHID PLUS, now capturing 27 million monthly users. MBC’s events division has brought international brands like “Cirque du Soleil” to Saudi Arabia. And soon, the Group will launch a local channel targeting North African audiences.

There’s no doubt that MBC Group is a tour de force in MENA, seeking to constantly adapt to consumer needs and aspirations. As a result of all this, the Group has become a fully-fledged and diversified media power house that touches the lives of 150 million people each day. An impressive feat by any measure.

Today, MBC Group finds itself focusing on expansion, as they look to action a comprehensive five-year plan, based around amplifying their organic and inorganic growth.

Working for Chairman Waleed Al Ibrahim, Sam Barnett joined MBC Group in 2002 as it moved from London to Dubai. Barnett comes from a management consulting background and is proud of the strong commercial organisation that has become a pillar of MBC’s growth. Growing up in New Zealand and the UK, Barnett is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, and holds an MBA from INSEAD. Prior to joining MBC, Barnett worked in East Africa, India and the UK.

Sam Barnett is pictured in the featured image.

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