Qatar is to make an appearance in a popular show on Netflix, further boosting its global outreach.
Qatar is set to be showcased in season two of a business reality show streamed on Netflix that reaches some 150 countries across the world.
“The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” is a popular Netflix series that gained some four million viewers in its premiere broadcast last year, placing the show as Asia’s most watched English-language reality premiere in 2021.
It also outperformed other top-rated reality competition premieres.
“[The series has] been a very exciting journey because it introduces new fans and families to our brand,” Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship told Doha News in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Qatar Economic Forum last week.
“The idea was introducing our brand in a different format and so you get the world
champions playing cameo roles in the series itself, but the same time you have the candidates who are vying for a job at one. They’re having to go through not only business challenges but also physical challenges,like jumping off 110 ft bridge in Singapore,” Sityodtong added.
“They had to do a lot of crazy things with the spirit of overcoming fear, you know, living your greatest version of yourself,” the CEO of the Singaporean combat sports promoter told Doha News.
Last week, Group ONE Holdings (ONE) and Qatar’s Media City inked a Memorandum of Understanding during this year’s Qatar Economic Forum, in an effort to develop a long-term partnership.
This is designed to allow collaboration in the production and overseeing of a wide range of global content in Qatar across multiple media sectors, including original programming, studio shows, and Esports.
The series secured two awards, namely “Best Non-Scripted Entertainment” and “Best Adaptation of an Existing Format” at the Asian Academy Creative Awards in 2021.
“We are very excited to announce a partnership with Group ONE Holdings which will bring a global content creator to Doha and strengthen Qatar’s media ecosystem. Media City is focusing on enabling innovative, creative media to flourish in Qatar and this partnership will be strategic in achieving this objective,” said Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Thani, CEO of Media City.
“We expect that this partnership will also create a path for other global IP content creators to consider Qatar as a hub to build their presence.”
An Esports hub for programme developers and other key stakeholders in the gaming world is also being weighed in the talks.
“We are excited to bring ONE closer to all our fans in Qatar and across the Middle East […] we are committed to enhancing this vision while building world-class content in Qatar to serve millions of fans around the world,” Sityodtong noted.
Qatar’s efforts in production
As Qatar beams under the international spotlight after winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup back in 2010, young Qataris launched the first animated local web series called “Kawkabani,” named after the main character of the show in late April.
The five-episode series, which is in Arabic, aims to introduce the global audience to the local culture whilst promoting the major sporting event due to be held in November this year.
The show’s 11-minute episodes follow the story of Kawkabani, a lost alien in Qatar. The alien, who has never missed a World Cup, crashed his spaceship in the country’s Sealine desert while enroute to the sporting event.
Luck appears to be in Kawkabani’s favour when he is located by three young Qatari men who guide him around the Gulf nation and introduce him to the culture.
Culture is a key element of this year’s World Cup, with stadiums for the global sporting event being designed to highlight Qatar’s heritage.
This includes the Al Bayt Stadium, which mimics a traditional tent that was historically used by nomadic people.