Arabic preschoolers finally have their own TV channel. The Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development debuted the pan-Arabic channel Baraem late last month, targeting young viewers between three and six years old, parents and kindergarten teachers.
Channel programming is being fuelled by acquisitions, with 85% of Baraem’s content coming from pickups and original series making up the remaining 15%. All channel content, however, is focused on encouraging cognitive and development skills with an edutainment quality that will prepare youngsters for school, says Al Jazeera and Baraem executive GM, Mahmoud Bouneb. An interactive preschool website (www.baraem.tv) also launched alongside the channel and it will provide games, educational tools and activities for mothers and nurseries to impart age-appropriate knowledge of Arabic writing and language.
Mazen A. Rifka is the executive in charge of acquisitions and rights for the channel, which will be adding 60 to 70 new preschool shows per year. Series already on the roster include In the Night Garden, Bananas in Pyjamas, Vipo, Animal Mechanicals, Finley the Fire Engine, JimJam & Sunny, Koala Brothers, Postman Pat, Tiny Planets and Big & Small.
Baraem’s launch spurred Al Jazeera Children’s Channel to refocus its target audience. JCC, which launched in 2005, is now aimed at kids seven to 15, with 60% of programming coming from original content. Baraem is a free-to-air, Arabic-language channel with a 17-hour daily schedule that reaches all Arab countries and Europe through Arabsat, Nilesat and Hotbird. KC