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Ten Years of Al Jazeera Documentary Channel


Al Jazeera Documentary Channel (AJDC) will celebrate its tenth anniversary in January 2017, an event that marks a decade of documentary programmes in Arabic-language and support for filmmakers in the Near East and Middle East region.

The Crusades, one of AJDC's in-house productions

AJDC was launched in early 2007 as a free-to-air satellite channel and was the first of its kind in the Arabic-speaking world. Through its focus on factual content and, specifically, documentary programmes, the channel has - over the years - managed to create a sizeable documentary-filmmaking industry in the MENA region.

“When we launched 10 years ago, the objective was to create a platform for Arab filmmakers and producers working on documentaries. Today we can say we’ve achieved something fruitful: we now have a large library of documentaries [around 1,500 hours] about the Arab world, done by local filmmakers and producers”, said Planning and Scheduling Manager Adel Ksiksi in a statement.

Over the course of ten years, the media landscape has changed and competitors have started to gain a foothold in the market. While the main competitors today are National Geographic, Abu Dhabi Media and Quest Arabiya but ADJC still has a headstart over its rivals through its 24/7 HD broadcast and its primary focus on stories from the Arab region.

“We’re very happy to see competitors in MENA. When we launched, we were the only ones. Today we have competition, which is a very good thing because it makes everybody raise their game, and that is also the challenge.”, adds Adel Ksiksi.

One of the advantages of additional players in the market is the larger production base that is required to supply them. More than 200 filmmakers, producers and production companies now work with AJDC, compared with a small handful when it launched, says Ksiksi. “This is very important because it creates more expertise in the area and creates a healthy environment for the filmmaking industry.”

Nearly 40% of the content on AJDC is Arabic content which is locally commissioned, including a small amount of 10 to 15 hours (per year) produced in-house. The rest is acquired content. The channel features about seven hours of new content every week with up to 500 hours of content being commissioned or acquired each year. Mor information about the tenth anniversary of AJDC can be found in a detailed report on C21media.

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