Kabul and Dubai-based producer Hamida Aman has launched Afghanistan’s first web TV channel Globox.tv, tapping into the country’s burgeoning social media culture.
The youth-focused platform streams two hours of new, short-format content every day, ranging from web series Campus FM, set in a journalism school, to a cultural programme called What Is Up In Kabul.
“It’s something totally new for Afghanistan,” says Aman, who has a track record in producing documentaries such as Kabul Underground through her Kabul-based Awaz Communication and Guru Production in Dubai.
“More and more young Afghanistans have access to the Internet and they’re heavily into social media, Facebook and YouTube,” said Aman.
“It’s a key way for them to communicate with their friends and other young people. It’s very difficult for them to socialise in person. There’s nowhere for them to hangout together, especially for girls.”
Afghan-born Aman grew-up in Switzerland and moved back to her native country in 2002 to work for an NGO specialising in media training, eventually setting up as an independent producer.
Most Globox.tv’s content is produced in Dari – an Afghan dialect of Farsi - in Awaz’ Kabul studio. Campus FM, consisting of 150 eight-minute episodes was shot there last year. A second series, bringing in a Hip-Hop element, is currently in production.
“Hip Hop is a way for young people to express themselves. There are more and more Hip Hop groups sprouting up in Afghanistan and we’re weaving this trend into the story,” said Aman.
Launched in October, Globox.tv is currently registering some 1,000 mainly Afghan-based hits a day.
Aman wants to extend the scope of its content. She recently set up a small production unit in Dubai to make Farsi-language, short format programmes capturing life in the UAE for the channel.
“We want to cover lifestyle, sports, cultural events in Dubai – everything is conceived with our audience back in Kabul in mind. It is tailor made for them,” said Aman.
First items include coverage of Dubai-based, Afghan fashion designer Koba Kochae’s cat-walk show at the end of November and coverage of the Dubai International Film Festival which opened last night (Dec 9-16).
In the long run, she hopes young Afghans at home and across the world will start contributing to the channel.
“When I set up Globox.tv it was to give young Afghans a means to express themselves,” said Aman. “For now we produce most the content but ultimately I hope Afghans at home and abroad start will get involved … the beauty of an Internet channel like this, is that it gives you incredible freedom to experiment.”