A Qatar-based group yesterday launched a global media organisation, Alnoor Holdings, in a major initiative.
Owned by the Al-Hashemi group, Alnoor Holdings has already set up a $200mn international film fund, planning to invest in at least 10 “high profile” movies over the next five years.
“Alnoor Holdings has positioned itself as an all-encompassing global media organisation to effectively penetrate local, regional and international markets with content that is highly appealing to the respective audiences,” chairman Ahmed al-Hashemi said.
It was the lack of quality content in Arabic cinema, drama and theatre that had made the company to establish an entity like Alnoor Holdings, he said.
It aimed to work just as “Hollywood presents the West, Bollywood India and the Chinese media the country it represents.”
“We have made significant commitments in terms of investment, acquisition of media content and human resources to move forward rapidly and are fully confident that we will satisfy a sizeable audience in a short span of time,” al-Hashemi said.
Working in the background for around a year, $15mn had already been invested so far, he said, adding Alnoor was in discussion with various studios and groups in the UK, the US, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, India and elsewhere for partnerships.
“A formal partnerships agreement with the Financial Times has been reached and from 2010 we will jointly hold an annual event with them,” the official said.
The event, FT Business of Film Summit, will be held in Doha on March 23 next year and will precede the FT Business of Film Gala Dinner on March 22.
When asked about investing in media during the global financial crisis, the officials pointed out that background work had been done before the establishment of the company.
“Our mission is to become the most dominant media company globally, investing carefully and ensuring shareholder value, using modern management methods as well as use of new technology,” al-Hashemi said.
Established on the initiative of a group of prominent businessmen in Qatar, Alnoor has more than 200 employees throughout the Middle East and North Africa now.
Its core activities will include international production, with special emphasis on English and Arabic language films. It will also focus on producing dramas, documentaries and TV programmes, and on children’s media, including animations and related merchandising in Arabic, to start with, but later expanding to other languages as well.
“As an example of what we will be producing in Arabic production, Alnoor has awarded an over-2,000 episode drama to a South Africa-based media company,” al-Hashemi said.
Asked about timing the launch of the group during the ongoing Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF), the official said they had purposely delayed the announcement to coincide with the event when hundreds of media personalities and journalists were in town to attend it.
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