Extreme Makeover: AUB Graduate Transforms Gulf Television
"With over 100 satellite TV stations fighting for a share of the
Arab audience, the awareness of image is becoming crucial," said
Obeida Sidani, a 1997 AUB graphic design graduate, who now oversees the
image branding of four major television channels in the United Arab Emirates.
In a short lecture at Architecture Hall on April 12, Sidani spoke about
his experience in the Arab Gulf, where he helped transform and shape the
image of the four channels. Entitled, "Extreme Makeover, A Television
Reality," Sidani's talk was both informative and humorous.
Because of the highly competitive environment, television networks are
increasingly focusing on image as well as content in order to attract
the audience. "The last resort is to work on the image, which is
called branding," Sidani said. Branding involves four major components:
the network, the target audience, identity, and design. Assisted by an
elaborate slideshow, Sidani showed how his design ideas transformed otherwise
decadent channels into instant successes.
Working with Dubai Television, One TV, Sama TV, and the Dubai Sports Channel,
Sidani managed to instill Arab culture with a more up-to-date Western
image. The trick, he explained, was to shroud the contemporary design
with symbols found in Arab heritage by incorporating images familiar to
the audience, such as those of maternity, childhood, friendship, and Gulf
traditions. "Although many subjects are taboo to the Arab audience,
they may be addressed if they are well hidden in familiar images,"
Sidani is the branding consultant for the Dubai Media Incorporation (DMI).
Prior to working with DMI, Sidani was the creative director of the first
Arab youth channel, Zen TV, as well as the acting creative director of
the Lebanese Future TV Network, one of the most significant television
networks in the Middle East. Sidani has won several of television's highly-esteemed