Million Dollar Island sets sail voor the Middle East

December 10, 2022 Following a very successful launch in the Netherlands – and only a few weeks after NBC acquired the format for the US market – “Million Dollar Island”, the new trailblazing reality survival show, is crossing more borders.

It will now be made for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). A regional version of the show has been commissioned by MBC GROUP – the largest and leading media company in MENA – where it will be produced in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, by Talpa’s new partner, Blue Engine Studios. It’s set to air on a yet-to-be-announced MBC GROUP TV channel, as well as on Shahid VIP, the world’s leading Arabic subscription video on demand (SVOD) platform, also part of MBC GROUP.

“Million Dollar Island” is a groundbreaking social experiment where 100 people try to stay on a remote desert island for two months for a chance at winning $1 million. Surviving the harsh conditions with limited means isn’t the only challenge. Each contestant starts the adventure with a bracelet worth $10,000.

While they’re on the island, contestants can gain and lose bracelets by competing in various games. They can also receive bracelets from other contestants. When someone gives up and decides to leave the island, they must give their bracelet(s) to a contestant who stays behind. On this show, alliances mean everything, and friendships are worth a fortune. Some contestants will become richer by winning games and inheriting bracelets, while those who lose and fail to collect new bracelets must eventually go home.

By the last day, only a few contestants are left on the island. In a thrilling finale, they’ll each get their chance to cash in their bracelets in an exciting test of nerves. However, they can also lose everything at the last minute…

Sebastian van Barneveld, Director of International Sales at Talpa, stated: “We are very excited about this project with Blue Engine Studios and MBC GROUP. The astonishing pace at which this unique and adventurous social experiment is conquering the globe is a testimony to its ingenuity.”

Ali Jaber, Group Director of TV at MBC GROUP, added: “‘Million Dollar Island’ is a format never seen before in the MENA region, and there’s no doubt that thousands of adventure enthusiasts from around the region will be signing up to experience this one-of-a-kind adventure. We’re excited to see what this show will bring to our audiences. Who will make history as the show’s first winner from the Arab world? It will be exciting to see who makes it to the top!”

The MENA market comprises 22 territories, of which some of the key media markets are the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Morocco.

Wayne Borg, Managing Director for Media, Entertainment and Culture at NEOM said, “We are excited to be working with Talpa and MBC. Our incredible array of stunning locations are the backdrop for the dedicated facility; large scale sets, workshops and accommodation to support the 200 cast and crew.  This is groundbreaking for the region, a production on this scale. It harnesses our world class offering of studios/stages, equipment inventory and support services at NEOM backed by our international team of renowned industry specialists. Bringing “Million Dollar Island” to NEOM is further proof of the confidence the industry has in our ability to deliver multiple productions seamlessly.”

“Million Dollar Island” is a format created by John de Mol’s Talpa Concepts and Monday Media. Distributed by Talpa Distribution, “Million Dollar Island” was first launched on Sunday, March 6, 2022, on SBS6 in the Netherlands. Amazon Prime has a day-and-date SVOD second window.

“Million Dollar Island” is proving to be the perfect example of a hybrid show, as it carries strong performance ratings across both linear and non-linear viewership. Amazon Prime has the day-and-date SVOD window and exclusively carries the after-show “Million Dollar More”. “Million Dollar Island” I the #1 local format on Amazon Prime.

On SBS6, the average consolidated market share (live +6 days) in the target demo 20-49 over six episodes is 17.3%. This is more than 78% above the channel average (9.7%). A lot of new viewers tuned in, as the program lead in had a market share of 6%.

MBC GROUP is the largest and leading media company in the Middle East & North Africa region that enriches people’s lives through information, interaction and entertainment. In 2002, nearly a decade after the launch of MBC1 in London, in 1991, MBC GROUPmoved its headquarters to Dubai Media City, United Arab Emirates.

Today, MBC GROUP includes over 17 leading TV channels: MBC1 (general family entertainment); MBC2 & MBC MAX (24-hour western movies); MBC3 (children’s edutainment with a mix of both local productions and western acquisitions); MBC4 (entertainment for young families with a female-focus); MBC ACTION (an indigenous adrenaline-packed channel targeting young males with local and homegrown productions); MBC VARIETY (Western films and general entertainment with uninterrupted broadcasting); MBC DRAMA(24/7 Arabic drama) & MBC+ DRAMA (a joint pay-TV channel between MBC and OSN); MBC PERSIA (general family entertainment dubbed and subtitled in Farsi); WANASAH (24-hour Arabic music channel); MBC MASR & MBC MASR2 (general family entertainment geared towards the Egyptian family); MBC BOLLYWOOD (delivering the freshest in Bollywood content geared towards the region via an Arabized interface); MBC USA (on “Dish Network” in the US); MBC IRAQ (a premium channel aimed at the entire Iraqi family), MBC5 (new satellite channel dedicated to the Maghreb); all of them benefit from MBC STUDIOS which produces the region’s most compelling premium content for cinema, television and on-demand platforms. MBC GROUP also includes two FM radio stations: MBC FM (Gulf music) and Panorama FM (contemporary Arabic hit music).

Furthermore, part of MBC GROUP is Shahid and its premium subscription-based service Shahid VIP, the world’s leading Arabic streaming platform, home to highly rated original productions from the Arab world, a wide range of exclusive movies and premieres, as well as the top watched live Arab TV channels.

About NEOM
NEOM is an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a New Future might look like. It is a region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea being built from the ground up as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for this New Future. It will be a destination and a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for exceptional livability, creating thriving businesses and reinventing environmental conservation.

NEOM will include hyperconnected, cognitive towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues and tourist destinations. As a hub for innovation, entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies will come to research, incubate and commercialize new technologies and enterprises in groundbreaking ways. Residents of NEOM will embody an international ethos and embrace a culture of exploration, risk-taking and diversity – all supported by a progressive law compatible with international norms and conducive to economic growth.

About Talpa
Talpa is a global content house for non-scripted formats based in the Netherlands and founded by John de Mol. The company empowers creativity to produce next-level content that connects people within their homes and around the world. Talpa holds exclusive access rights to premium broadcast and streaming channels in the Netherlands and Germany and has proven to be a successful breeding ground for content creation since the dawn of the industry. Many of today’s evergreen entertainment brands originated at Talpa and are now blueprints for the international market.