MBC Group, the largest broadcasting corporation in the Middle East announced the launching of Shahid.net (shahid meaning watch) the second of it’s kind in the region free Video On Demand online TV service for MBC programs with plans to expand it further in the future.
The service comes as a logical step following the huge success their initial portal called MBC Shahid Online which was launched during 2007 and contained archives of MBC programs receiving around 4 million views a month.
The model similar to that of Hulu is based on the fact online viewers numbers are growing rapidly, which makes advertisers migrate to online media with all the benefits it provides over traditional media like TV and radio such as targeting specific demographics and genders in addition to user interaction.
The website currently provides a rich archive of MBC programs in Arabic only but plans on enriching their content to provide English programs also to cater for their also popular English channels such as MBC MAX and MBC 2 and 4.
MBC’s Shahid will give services like recently launched Forga.com a run for their money, especially with their already broad reach in the region and massive funding.
Some features that MBC has surprised us with is the ability to embed videos available on Shahid.net in any website, similar to the same feature provided by services such as Youtube, in an attempt to curb the online piracy scene in the region.
The service will be making all programs available free of charge online as soon as they are aired on their paid free TV channels. Future development plans include possible smartphone apps, till then you can follow your favorite Ramadan programs and then some online from the comfort of your PC whenever you like.