MBC launches Web page

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CAIRO--Middle East media powerhouse MBC launched a Web site this week for its TV and radio services, opening up a new venue in a race for advertising dollars and viewers by Arab broadcasting companies.

Browsers can click on either English or Arabic versions of the Saudi-owned company's new Web site for MBC television and MBC-FM radio for a guide of weekly programs, special stories and features. The site alsoincludes sports coverage and a guide to the millennium Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, which begins in December.

The Web site (www.mbctvsat.com) offers a new challenge to the region's market, where the Internet remains a little-used medium.

Eight-year-old MBC has faced increasing competition from a new crop of Arab satellite channels and has struggled to keep its books in the black. Overall, however, the region's satellite channels blossomed financially last year, capturing nearly 50% of the growth in Middle East ad spend, according to the Dubai-based Pan Arab Research Center.

Copyright October 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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