الإنتقال إلى: العربية
DayPress
Weather
14/07/2011 Share/Save/Bookmark
Send Print
Syrian Soap Operas
Syrian Soap Operas

Do Syrian Soap Operas are Boycotted in Ramadan 2011?

(DP-News – FT )

DAMASCUS- In Syria, the holy month of Ramadan is the high season for television soap operas. Along with the daily fasting, prayers and evening feasts, watching the latest TV soaps, known locally as “musalsalaat”, is a firm tradition in many households.

In previous years, Syrian-made hits like Bab al-Hara – a wildly popular series set in Damascus’s Old City in the 1930s – have been eagerly bought up by Arab satellite channels and broadcast to tens of millions during Ramadan, making Syria the region’s leading producer of television drama.

Thanks to their racy storylines and willingness to tackle taboo subjects like adultery, domestic abuse and even homosexuality, they are hugely popular not just in Syria but across the Arab world.



Ramadan, during which new television series are typically debuted, starts on 31 July. But with a popular uprising against Syria’s autocratic and oppressive regime now several months old, many in the industry fear that this year there will be less interest in the soaps, both inside Syria and elsewhere in the region.

Syrian producers complain that foreign Arab TV channels are reluctant to buy the programmes, a move seen by some as a protest at the regime’s handling of the uprising, the pro-regime views of some soap actors and directors have prompted calls for boycotts.

Some Arab satellite channels are either refusing to buy Syrian soaps or offering to pay vastly lower sums for the rights to show them, said Najdat Anzour, a veteran director whose controversial work included last year’s Ramadan series on Islamic extremism.

Satellite channels that had previously paid $2m a series were now offering as little as $200,000, Firas Ibrahim, a famous Syrian actor and director, recently told Egypt’s Al Shorouk newspaper.

Weak demand does not just reflect political concerns. Lower television advertising revenues are also pushing buyers to drive a hard bargain. “Syrian soap operas are by far the most popular during Ramadan, so I don’t think a boycott is very likely,” said Ramez Maluf, a professor of arts and communication at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. “There is lots of money involved. Most of the soaps are created by Syrians, but the money comes from Gulf networks who might be worried about a return on their investment.”

Last year some 30 Syrian soaps were aired during Ramadan, some of them only in Syria, but most of them on pan-Arab satellite channels. The same number have been made this year, but it remains unclear how many will make it to air. Even if they do, the protests mean a large audience will not be guaranteed, a point of concern for advertisers.

Protest organisers predict that people are more likely to take to the streets during Ramadan than to sit in front of the TV, as daily evening prayers encourage more people than ever to congregate. “I don’t think anyone’s going to be watching soaps with the amount of blood that’s going to be on the streets,” remarked one Damascus activist. “It’s going to be like Friday every day, so Ramadan could be a real turning point.”

A local TV journalist agrees. “You would be mad to invest in a TV soap at the moment,” she said. “People are going to be more interested in watching the news channels.”

Campaigns to boycott some soaps because of the political views of their actors and directors have also created a stir. In recent weeks, both pro- and anti-regime activists have set up Facebook ‘blacklists’ of artists to be avoided.

One site that lists “shameful” pro-regime artists now has nearly 22,000 fans. On the list are Fadia Khattab, a well-known Syrian actress and chairwoman of the Syrian Artist Guild, and Doreid Lahham, an actor who is this year starring in a Ramadan soap billed as a comedy about the current crisis.

Local critics admit it is difficult for anti-regime actors and directors to address the protests in an overtly political way, despite the Syrian soap industry’s reputation for pushing the boundaries.

However, Mr Maluf said: “What [Syrian soaps] have shown is that there is a lot of awareness among the public about political issues, even if they are set in a different era and don’t refer to the government directly.

“Arab audiences can read into them a lot of awareness and even subversion that you don’t see from Syrian state media, and that’s an important message.”

Visitors Comments          Number of Comments (1)
1
باب الحاره
معتصم الحسنات الاردن            8/11/2011 3:19:58 AM
باب الحاره بلا عباس النوري (ابو عصام) احلا بكتير
Add Your Comment !
     
Name:
Comment Title:
Comment:
     

الطقس في سوريا

دمشق


لطيف
القصوى: 28°
الدنيا: 14°
الرطوبة: 68%
<< حالة الطقس في بقية المحافظات السورية
Most Read Most Commented Most sent

Do you support bombing Islamic State guerrillas inside Syria?




The Forum    
حملة بصورتك لون علمك
Review www.dp-news.com on alexa.com
Home | NEWS | ECONOMY | TOURISM | SOCIETY | CULTURE | DIARY | OPINION | NGO
Editor | About DP | Advertising | Contact Us