With a new Arabic-language version of Sesame Street now airing in MENA, Sesame Workshop and its co-producer Bidaya Media have appointed Arabian Licensing Company (ALC) to rep the series in the United Arab Emirates, Middle East and Gulf Cooperation Council territories.
ALC is planning a full-scale licensing program, featuring a range of consumer products and retail promotions for the series. The deal with Bidaya Media – the production joint-venture between Sesame Workshop and the Abu Dhabi-based investment company Mubadala Development – includes the use of a domestic character (pictured) for the MENA markets and global characters for the global markets.
After a 25-year hiatus in the region, the new series Iftah Ya Simsim, debuted on Arabic kids channel SpaceToon TV and across eight broadcast stations in September. All 28 eps in the season feature original songs, live-action films and animated segments. The series targeting kids four to six is produced locally and follows the curriculum outlined by the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States. It is expected to reach more than 45 million viewers.
The original Arabic Sesame Street series, also named Iftah Ya Simsim, ran from 1970 to 1990, and was the first educational program of its kind in the Arab region.