Driver Dan’s story train pulls into the Middle East

04 Oct 2010

Arabic adaptation of hit show to be broadcast by Al Jazeera Children’s Channel

twofour54 today announced a broadcasting deal with Al Jazeera Children’s Channel preschool arm, Baraem TV, to air Captain Karim Qitar Al Hekayat, a brand new Arabic language production, adapted from existing hit children’s TV series Driver Dan’s Story Train.

Driver Dan’s Story Train is the first CGI animated/live action property to be produced in both English and Arabic. Captain Karim Qitar Al Hekayat is set to air on Baraem TV at the beginning of next year.

Captain Karim Qitar Al Hekayat is being produced by Blink Studios – a leading UAE-based animation and production company – who have established their new, long-form animation production studio at twofour54 in Abu Dhabi. Blink Studios have produced 52 episodes that reflect the cultures of the Arabic-speaking world; the production’s live action sequences feature local children, auditioned with the help of schools in the UAE. The post production work is being carried out using the new state-of-the-art facilities at twofour54 intaj, twofour54’s production, post-production, media asset management and broadcast division.

This deal aligns with twofour54’s ambition to build a regional children’s brand with commercial appeal across a number of media platforms.  To complement the television series, twofour54 is launching an interactive Arabic language website in November and is in discussions with Arabic language publishers to develop an Arabic language book publishing programme. The roll out of home entertainment and consumer products will follow in 2011.

Captain Karim Qitar Al Hekayat can provide a blueprint for emerging content creators working in children’s programming. Utilising the image of a popular Arabic children’s character, media companies can enjoy great success through a range of platforms to include, books, toys, games, stationery and other products.

Since premiering earlier this year in the UK on CBeebies, Driver Dan’s Story Train has established itself as a ratings hit, winning a 40% audience share. Macmillan Children’s Books has successfully released a range of books in the UK to accompany the series alongside the launch of an interactive English language website.

Wayne Borg, COO, twofour54 says: “To establish and build a brand that connects with the Arabic-speaking world has always been at the heart of twofour54’s ambitions. Given that 35% of the region’s 340 million population are children under the age of 14, this indicates that the children’s market is one which has great potential in the region. This acquisition deal is testament to the production quality that is possible across the MENA region and we look forward to working with the team at JCC to make Captain Karim a much loved character for Arabic children.”

Malika Alouane, Director of Channels’ Programming at Al Jazeera Children’s Channel stated: “We are pleased to witness and support the development of a high quality Arabic long form animation production in our region; I would like to believe that Captain Karim Qitar Al Hekayat will bring additional programming value to Baraem TV which is highly viewed in millions of homes around the Arab world and highly respected by parents.”

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