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Motives for Watching Dubbed TV Shows by University Students in the U.A.E

Muna Abdelaziz Alradimi and Fawzia Abd Allah Al-Ali*

Department of Mass Communication, College of Communication, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE

*Corresponding Author:
Fawzia Abd Allah Al-Ali,Associate Professor
Department of Mass Communication, College of Communication
University of Sharjah
Sharjah, P.O.Box: 27272, UAE.
Tel: +97165053609
E-mail: +97165050688

Received date: February 10, 2019; Accepted date: February 20, 2019; Published date: February 26, 2019

Citation: Alradimi MA, Al-Ali FAA. Motives for Watching Dubbed TV Shows by University Students in the U.A.E. Global Media Journal 2019, 17:32.



Television; Drama; TV show

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The preference for dubbed television programs continues to prevail in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Objective: The main aim of this study was to establish the factor that influence the preference for dubbed movies in the UAE. Furthermore, the study aimed at ranking the factors that influence the motive to watch dubbed movies among university students in the UAE in accordance with their level of influence. Method: Questionnaires were distributed to participants across four universities through mail. The data from the research was analyzed using descriptive statics, tables and charts to establish the co-relatedness of the factors that influence the motive of the university students to watch dubbed television programs. Results: Most viewers of dubbed movies are female at the percentage of 71.5% (n=143). The majority of the participants were from the other Arabs group at 42.5% (n=85). The second largest nationality was UAE locals at 39.0% (n=78). The majority of the participants were Year 4 at 40% (n=80). Year 5 student participation stood at 32% (n=64). The story and the actors were the main reasons for watching dubbed movies. Other factors, ranked in order of priority include; learning ne cultures, the effect of the dubbers, tourism, fashion, video quality, and furnishing. Conclusion: Most the plot of dubbed movies and the foreign actors are the main motives for the watching of dubbed television content in the UAE.

Background of the Study

There is a growing increasing concern over the rise of television drama viewership and their effects on the morals of the youth. The interest has led to two fundamental questions. One, to what extent are young people exposed to the television dramas? Two, what are the reasons and why the youth, in particular, are interested in the international TV shows? In a bid to answer this question, the research will survey the most viewed Turkish, Western and far Asian shows and show by young viewers in the UAE, University students in particular. As a matter of fact, studies that have been conducted to put this issue into perspective have indicated that the youth are become interested in TV show day by day globally. The advancements in technology facilitate the trend. It is becoming a universal fact that technology is not only changing people’s very way of living but also transforming the world into a global village.

Thanks to technology, the world can now celebrate the good and bad of globalization. Even if it is contestable that globalization is a necessary evil one thing remains which the world is now borderless. Besides, regardless of which side one argues about the impact of technology, it is a fact that technology is significantly impacting on the life of the youth. Through technology, anyone can access any media content conveniently by the click of a button. Most television shows are now streamed live. Add this to the internet connectivity and the upcoming mobile phones; then you have a global village where data, information is shared freely to disabuse the geographical distance. Unfortunately, due to their gullibility, the youth have become the most affected segment of the population by technological trends including TV shows and drama. The UAE children are not spared, as they too not only watch the Turkish shows, but also view the western and far Asian shows and theater in the UAE TV channels. Therefore, the goal of the study is to know to what extent those young viewers are exposed to movies, TV shows and drama by answering why and how questions.

Some of the educated hypotheses of the problem include Firstly, the prevalence of watching dubbed movies and series among the youth are high in the UAE. Secondly, there are statistically significant trends related to aspects such as the age, sex, duration, and frequency of watching. Thirdly, reasons such as boredom, the need to fit into the social norm, lack of an alternative, superior actor, contact with other cultures, and a form of entertainment are the motivations for watching the content. For qualifying the research hypotheses, the study will use a quantitative method of study. Quantitative methods will help in analyzing the existing literature on the subject of study to validate the primary data collected.

Research Problem

The primary motivation of UAE youth for watching dubbed TV drama is facilitated by the advancements in technology that leads to globalization. The impact of globalization threatens the longheld traditions in most parts of the world. As technology develops, people are increasingly subjected to values and ideals that are foreign. In particular, the youth are simultaneously subjected to competing and conflicting messages from parents, academic and religious institutions, the growing television industry, and the internet together with its capabilities. Policymakers and scholars widely acknowledge the fundamental role of the media in the lives of the youth. However, over the recent past, the society has witnessed a proliferation of dubbed TV drama. Dubbed shows and series had conquered the Arab world recently. Soap operas, animated series, and other genres have attracted Arab youth generation and shifted their attention from local entertainment shows to the international ones. The Arabic re-voicing of such shows with different accents has captured the attention of Arabs to dubbed drama. Emotional, romantic, and new plots with different kind of stories from different parts of world played a role in attracting Arab viewers as well. As a result, it is essential to explore the important and motives behind watching dubbed series by young Arab generation in the UAE.

This study mainly captures the factors that prompt university students in the UAE to watch television shows. Therefore, the result of this study allows researchers to go further with the subject to explore the impacts of watching dubbed drama on youth and the UAE society in general.

Research Questions

The study aims at answering some research questions that are listed below:

• What types of dubbed TV shows are watched by young university students?

• Who watches dubbed shows more, female or male university students?

• What are the motives that drive young people to watch dubbed TV content?

• What is the prevalence of watching dubbed movies and series among the youth in the UAE?

• Which countries are the leading suppliers of dubbed TV content?

Significance and Purpose of the Study

Although this study mainly concentrates on the factors that prompt university students in the UAE to watch television shows, it also acknowledges the impact that these shows might have on various aspects of life of these students. Such an impact aligns well with the concept gratification as a motive to watch the dubbed movies. The viewers intend to gratify personal identity through an affiliation with the culture depicted in the movies. First of all, it is vital to highlight the importance of properly expressing the cultural peculiarities of the original TV shows while dubbing their content. While the viewers might face difficulties when trying to understand certain cultural characteristics present in foreign shows, watching them provides a unique opportunity to experience foreign cultures [1]. Therefore, apart from identifying the motives for watching the dubbed television shows, the study will attempt to analyze the societal impact of these shows.

The concept of television shows dubbing is the major focus of the study due to the multiple demographic factors that it encompasses, including education, gender, age, and other social factors that influence the choice of the dubbed television shows by the viewers. The analysis of the distribution and frequency of the demographic factors that affect the selection of dubbed television content aims at quantifying the influence of every factor. Therefore, the results of the study will allow one to evaluate the preferences for the dubbed television shows among the university students in the UAE based on their cultural, educational, and social background, their gender and age.

Objectives/Goals of the Study

The research has various goals that it wishes to accomplish regarding the argument of the viewership of dubbed television shows in the UAE. The following are the aims of the study for the research.

• This study aims to figure out the UAE’s young people’s main interests regarding their TV programs and shows especially international ones.

• Furthermore, the research seeks to determine the Youth desires and needs from dubbed TV drama.

• Determining the most common and popular genres of dubbed TV shows among young viewers in the UAE.

• Finally, the current study aims to figure out the extent to which young people in the UAE are depend and rely on media to get their needs.

Theoretical Framework

When studying the motivation of watching dubbed TV drama among youths, the uses and gratifications theories should be used to provide an ideal framework. The theory is a traditional approach to the comprehension of mass communication. In contrast to other methods, it places the focus on the audience or consumer, rather than the message being perpetuated [2]. Consequently, the audience is an active participant in integrating and interpreting media into their lives [3]. Since the public uses the media to satisfy certain gratifications, it is responsible for choosing media that suit their needs. Consequently, media stations compete with one another to fulfill the satisfaction of the viewers.

The basic model of the uses and gratifications theory identifies four needs that the media aims to satisfy. To start with, the media has to fulfill the personal identity need [2]. Essentially, human beings tend to identify with certain films when they get a sense of themselves and their peers. In the context of the Arab society, people might watch the dubbed films since they identify with them culturally and traditionally. Besides, the personalities starring in those movies might be their role models. Consequently, it is logical to argue that dubbed TV content from some areas are watched heavily by the people of the UAE identify with the challenges and successes of those nations.

Another aspect of the model is education. A key reason why people use mass media is to gain information, understanding, and knowledge [2]. As such, the perception that other types of movies or series contain more information would then drive their consumption. In the same light, if the content is foreign, then dubbing becomes necessary to foster the educational process. Overall, the themes contained in genres such as soap operas focus on values related to relationships and love. Consequently, it could be hypothesized that the desire for dubbed movies is premised on the information they contain.

The third element of the uses and gratifications theory is social interaction. Based on the theory, consumers watch certain content to gain insight into the situations of others, resulting in social empathy [4]. They also consume content to identify with others and feel the sense of belonging. Besides, watching a movie helps one have conversations with peers, which fosters social interaction [5]. In fact, among young people, conversations regarding movies and other popular topics tend to be common. For some, watching a movie or even playing a video game can be a substitute for real-life companionship [2]. Overall, according to this theory, the motivation to watch dubbed content would be based on the need to integrate and socialize with friends, family, and society.

The final element in the model is entertainment. An essential role of movies and films is to entertain the audience. As a result, people may watch certain content to relax and release emotions [5]. For some, watching provides an opportunity to escape from their personal problems. From a cultural point of view, consuming content might also be aimed at acquiring intrinsic cultural or aesthetic enjoyment. For others, watching allows them to fill time. Finally, depending on the kind of the movie, users can gain sexual arousal. Based on this information, the thirst for dubbed movies among the young population may be due to the need to be entertained.

The uses and gratifications theory has been utilized in research to explain the growth of soap operas [3]. Keshishian [6] explored the motives of soap opera viewing among university students in Armenia. The study highlighted several uses and gratifications that drive the consumption of such content. They include pleasure, stimulation, passing time, serials importance, and showing reality. One particular finding was that friends and family more influenced the younger generation as compared to the internet, radio, and television. In essence, the social aspect, in theory, seems appropriate in explaining the prevalence of watching dubbed content among younger people.

The second theoretical framework that could be used in the study of the motivation for watching dubbed TV content is media dependency theory [7]. Overall, the media dependency theory states that when an individual depends more on media to fulfill the needs, the more the person attach more importance to the press [7]. It defines the link between the viewers, the media, and the social system. This theory suggests that people gain relatively little information in real life; accordingly, they use this tool to fulfill this desire. A continuous utilization of media increases people's degree of dependence. Indeed, media owners strive to create this relationship as a means of expanding their audience base and achieving their goals.

Ideally, media dependence theory is based on gratification and uses principles. According to media dependency theory, people use the media for various reasons. The more one gets his or her needs fulfilled by media, the more the person becomes dependent on the media such that the life of the individual heavily relies on the press [7]. Further, the media dependency asserts that the press can have much influence and power over the person who overly depends on it. For example, the theory argues that when one over-relies on media for information, the person can quickly set the agenda.

Similarly, Narasimhamurthy [8] argues that the media plays a critical role in satisfying people’s needs. In particular, viewers become reliant on it based on its capacity to meet their wants. Hence, the level of this dependence is based on the perceived value of media in achieving viewers’ desires and objectives. The fundamental concept of media dependency theory is that members of the population use media to gain insight into their surroundings and the globe. This principle maintains that there is a mutual relationship between the public, the major means of communication, and the viewers, in which people use the media to understand other cultures, get entertained, and gain information. Accordingly, media strives to provide contents that fulfill people’s needs for information, entertainment, and comprehension.

Previous Studies

Scholars continue to debate the impacts of other cultures, particularly the western traditional customs and belief systems, on the lifestyle of the natives. Indeed, Anuradha [9] in his article “A study on the preference for Tamil dubbed Hindi serials among home makers in Salem” observed that Hindi soaps had a significant effect on the indigenous persons. There was a considerable decline in the overall number of original serials in South India because of dubbed movies, which contributed to a reduction in the influence of the local Tamil serial industry. Accordingly, Anuradha [9] attempted to establish the reasons a large proportion of the country’s audience had switched from viewing the local films to focus on Hindi dubbed soap operas. The scholar tried to determine the characteristics of the dubbed Hindi programs that were attractive to Tamil television viewers and the respective cultural implications. The study included 508 respondents in Salem district, in which female participants constituted the largest percentage of the regular audience for Hindi serials. The scholar used a structured questionnaire that contained closed-ended statements as a means of collecting participants’ feedback. The person analyzed dubbed serials to establish the embedded cultural elements.

According to the research findings, about 50% of Tamil audience love viewing dubbed serials, whereas the other members of the population watch Tamil mega serials. Tamil television audience maintained that the language in the dubbed movies was relatively slow paced. Nonetheless, the respondents stated that they had accepted it due to the existing cultural components. They argued that dubbed serials promoted various cultural practices, such as the significance of joint and loving family systems. These viewers felt that dubbed films portrayed the role of women in the society and the family system, the traditional mode of dressing, and other aspects in a positive manner. These cultural components, which were peculiar to the Tamil audience, appealed to these individuals. Hence, the elements in these films have a great attraction for the region’s viewers. Indeed, television sector discovered this gap and exploited it for commercial purposes.

Zhou [10] sought to assess the significant rise in the popularity of American television programs in the Republic of China and establish its impact on the country’s college student viewers.

Zhou [10] maintains that millions of the country’s young people tend to seek entertainment from online channels due to the rapid development of the Internet. Accordingly, many young people watch foreign television program through this medium. Chinese policies require players in the entertainment industry to dub all imported television shows before broadcasting them. In this research, the investigator gathered data from 279 students in institutions of higher learning through the use of a crosssectional survey that was availed over the Internet. The study results provided insight into the viewing pattern of the selected individuals. They did not demonstrate a significant difference in the change of participant’s values.

Turkey seems to be one of the primary sources of dubbed content. According to Buccianti [11], Turkish soap operas have continued to conquer the Arab world. For example, on August 30, 2008, approximately eighty-five million Arabs viewed the finale of the Syrian-Dubbed soap opera called Gumus. One of the reasons that have been put forward for the high consumption of the dubbed TV content is the historical connection that stretches back to the Ottoman Empire. Additionally, based on Buccianti [11], soaps have consistently driven the constant theme, which resonates with the larger Arab audience. Moreover, the traditional exchanges between these two societies have helped reduce the social distance.

As expected, current literature has attempted to establish the impact of dubbed content on the Arab audience. Qudah and Tahat [12] conducted a study to explore the degree of exposure to television transmission of Jordanian adolescents, the viewing hours, the motives for viewing, the exposure and reasons for exposure of adolescents to dubbed series and to explain the orientation and the influence of the display. The sample population was derived from adolescents living in Amman, the capital of the country. One of the findings of the study was that most people now rely on satellite television as a source of news. Besides, the researchers determined that the viewing of dubbed series among the adolescent population was high (94.9% among males and 84.9 among females. Further, the intensity of exposure was high as 34.8% of the respondents reported that are exposed to dubbed series for 3 – 4 or more hours a day. To add on that, 35.1% of the respondents reported that they continually watched dubbed series. The study, like others, demonstrates that the consumption of dubbed programs in the Arab world is high.

Another study conducted by Yanardagoglu and Imad [13] also reveals similar trends on the penetration of the Turkish TV series and audience perception. According to Yanardagoglu and Karam [13], about 60% of TV shows in the Middle East have different content. This reveals that majority of the youth can access the foreign TV shows and Asian content brought firmly home by local media. The study sought to explore the factors that led to such massive attraction of the TV dubbed dramas to the UAE youths while considering the conversations about the possible impacts of the foreign media on the Arabic culture. The study found out that the UAE youths do not feel or find foreign media content as the primary cause for the cultural identity corruption. Besides, the research found that according to the UAE youths, the international TV dramas just offers alternative modernity to the closed Arab world [13]. The youths appreciate the foreign soap operas because they think they are modest and expose them to current modern trends in the world. These findings are an indication of the fact that foreign media has got warm reception among the UAE youths due to a lack of modern drama and current TV shows in the Arabic mainstream media. Besides, the high number of viewership of the Turkish and Asian soap opera indicates the foreign drama and TV shows provide provides what the youth think are useful content to them.

Al-Jenaibi [14] maintains that dubbed films are very prominent on TV channels. These serials have a wide coverage throughout the world, even in the Arab world, where people watch them eagerly. However, these movies display traditions and customs that are completely different from those of Arabic nations. These differences contribute immensely to a change in the values and conducts of the audience. Similarly, the researcher argues that other scholars concur that these programs present some behaviors and ideas that are contrary to the Islamic religion. Ironically, Arabs tend to ignore Arabic serials, which include the Gulf and the Egyptian programs. Indeed, the natives have a keen interest in serials dubbed from Mexico, whether dubbed series influence teenagers’ lives.

According to the study findings, a large percentage of these individuals, who constitute the majority of viewers in the nation, watch dubbed movies for at least four hours every day. As a result, the scholar maintains that there is a great need for other members of society to encourage young people to watch programs that help in protecting the national and cultural identity as a means of addressing this issue.

Overall, available research has identified that Arab youth are increasingly watching dubbed TV content. However, a research gap exists, as the available research has not focused specifically on the UAE. Additionally, although studies have explored the motives, the findings remain conclusive, especially in the realms of social and cultural impacts. As a result, this area provides an opportunity for further exploration to create knowledge.

Critical Review

The literature review is in line with the topic of the study and relates to the content in the background section of the report. It commences with an overall look at the development of the digital media and then subsequently centers on dubbed content.

Generally, this section has acknowledged the sources of information, making it scholarly and reliable. Furthermore, the use of statistical information increases the weight of the content. The provision of data and evidence from other countries enables a comparison of the consumption of dubbed media between other regions and the U.A.E. to determine the magnitude of the issue. Notably, after the review of the Arab studies, the study has summarized the findings and highlighted the gaps in literature.


Research design

As mentioned above, the main purpose of this study to highlight the desire behind demanding dubbed TV shows and drama by young generation in the UAE society. Thus, the study concerns on audience and their reasons and needs when watching such shows. Due to the nature of the research, the type of research method that will be used is quantitative research. The research method allows the researcher to understand the problem and to generate data that result into usable statistics [15]. In addition, the method gives insight and assists in defining opinions and important variables. Quantitative research helps in generalizing results because it uses large populations depending on the research problem. The advantage of using quantitative research in this study is that the data gathered helps in coming up with measurable results that lead to facts of the research.

The study design and data collection

The research approach to help get the required information for the research is grounded theory, which involves the use of online survey and personal questionnaires sent to individuals. The purpose of using surveys is to identify the emotions and the opinions of the participants regarding the topic. The aim of using online survey is to help reach all the participants, because almost all students have active email addresses and they can respond well to surveys. Moreover, it is easy for the researcher because the data collection method reduces the use f manual methods that that duplication of copies and downloading of software.

A combination of mail surveys and personal copies will be distributed among four University Students (Sharjah University, Ajman University, and Zayed University and Higher college of technology). A number of 200 students from college of communication and media sciences will be asked to answer the questionnaire. The age of students in the sample is from 18-24 from both gender. Consequently, a questionnaire will be used as a data collection instrument to collect the primary data. Both, structured and unstructured questions will be included in the questionnaire to collect the data.

Structured questions are close ended and they are planned by the researchers. The advantage of the structured questions is that they increase the response and encourage the participants to provide accurate information. Besides the structured questions are easy to analyze and to code, thus making it easy for the researchers to use in online surveys. On the other hand, unstructured questions are open ended and they require the participants to provide their answers openly. Based on their nature, participants are supposed to think harder and most of them fail to respond correctly. As such, the response rate of the unstructured questions is lower compared to the structured questionnaires. However, the openended questions provide the researcher with insights that assist in understanding the research problem well. Questions will be based on the research questions and hypotheses and will be designed to reach different types viewers who are selected in the target audience.

Data analysis

After collecting the requested data, the researcher was responsible to decode the questionnaire results and edit it to avoid errors and to maintain the quality of the data gathering. Descriptive statistics, charts, and tables were used by the researcher to analyze the results and to clarify the data. Descriptive statics allow the researchers to summarize data using large samples and large amounts of data. The data collected becomes useful and easy to understand, giving the researcher a general idea of the identified trends. The type of charts and graphs used depends on the kind of data collected and the results to be displayed. This research uses both pie Charts and bar graphs to display the results. Bar graphs assist in displaying relationships between data that have different categories. Pie charts display how different categories in the data relate to the given set. To compare between the variables, means and frequencies test was the used while analyzing the data. Chi- Square test was also used while comparing one result.


1. The participants were asked: How many hours a week do you spend watching dubbed shows?

Those who chose that they never watch dubbed shows were excluded. The majority 22.0% (n=44) chose that they watch for 5-6 hours weekly. In the second place came those who watch for 1-2 hours weekly at 20.5% (n=41). Next came 3-4 hours weekly at 19.5% (n=39). 8.0% (n=16) watch the shows for 7-8 hours weekly. Finally, 4.0% (n=8) spend 9-10 hours weekly.

2. We asked the participants: During what time of the day do you prefer to watch dubbed shows? The majority of the participants prefer watching dubbed shows during the night time at 37.8% (n=56). The second most preferred time to watch dubbed shows was during the evening at 35.1% (n=52). In third place came afternoon at 16.2% (n=24). Finally came morning at 10.8% (n=16). Figure 1 describes the preferred timings.


Figure 1: How often do you watch dubbed shows?

3. The following question was asked: How many dubbed TV shows have you watched in total?

The majority of the participants chose 3-4 shows at 39.9% (n=59). 5-6 shows were the second highest at 21.6% (n=32). 1-2 shows came third at 19.6% (n=29). The results are shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2: How many dubbed TV shows have you watched in total?


Figure 2: How often do you watch dubbed shows?

4. Preferred Accent

When the participants were asked about their preferred accent of dubbing, the results were as follows: 54.7% of the participant (n=81) stated that they prefer a Syrian or Lebanese accent. Formal Arabic came in second place with 39.9% (n=59) of the participants preferring it. Gulf accents came in third place with 5.4% of the participants (n=8) preferring it (Figure 3).


Figure 3: Preferred Language.

5. We asked the participants: How do you prefer to watch the dubbed shows?

The answers were as follows. The majority of the responses 38.0% (n=76) prefer watching the shows with their family. 22.5% (n=45) prefer watching with friends. The remaining 13.5% (n=27) prefer watching alone.


We asked the participants about the reasons that drive them to watch dubbed shows. Participants were allowed to choose more than one answer. A point system was built through SPSS program. In which 1 point is given to each item if the respondent chose it, and no points is given if it got ignored. The means of each item and the standard deviation were calculated. The items were ranked as seen in the Table 1.

Table 1: Motives.

Item Mean Std. Deviation Rank
Story/plot 0.81 0.393 1
Learning a culture 0.76 0.43 2
Video quality 0.28 0.449 6
Actors 0.81 0.393 1
Dubbers 0.54 0.5 3
Tourism 0.44 0.498 4
Furnishing and decoration 0.22 0.413 7
Fashion 0.49 0.502 5

It can be deducted from the table that both the story and the plot came in first place. The second most common interest by the participants was learning a new culture. Third came the dubbers. In the fourth place, interest in tourism lied. Next came fashion, followed by video quality and finally furnishing.


1. Audiovisual Translation Method:

We asked the participants: Which of the following modes of audiovisual translation do you prefer for your TV shows? Three options were provided for the question: Visual Translation (as in subtitles), Audio Translation (as in dubbing), and Voice Over (as in audible original sound track). The results were as follows: There was a close proximity between visual and audio dubbing, in which 54.7% (n=81) chose audio dubbing and 42.6% (n=63) chose visual subtitles. The remaining 2.7% (n=4) chose voice over. The results are displayed in Figure 4.


Figure 4: Preferred Audiovisual Translation.

2. We provided the participants with nine items that measures their attitudes and perception (Table 2).

Table 2: Statement.

Statement Mean Std. Deviation Rank
I find it easier to follow up with a translated dubbed audio rather than reading translated subtitles. 0.85 0.86 4
Dubbed TV shows have a better structured plot/story than native Arab TV shows. 1.41 0.637 1
The stories shown in dubbed TV shows reflect the reality. 0.68 0.776 7
Dubbed TV shows help me learn about foreign cultures. 1.14 0.779 2
Dubbed TV shows have a higher quality of photography. 0.79 0.819 5
The people who are dubbing play a role in my choice of the dubbed TV show. 0.7 0.646 6
Dubbed TV shows encourage tourism. 1.01 0.565 3
Dubbed TV shows have an educational value to me. 0.3 0.579 8
Dubbed TV shows have an educational value to me. 0.21 0.408 9

It can be seen that the statement “Dubbed TV shows have a better structured plot/story than native Arab TV shows” came in first place. It was followed by “Dubbed TV shows help me learn about foreign cultures” . In third place came “Dubbed TV shows encourage tourism,” followed by “I find it easier to follow up with a translated dubbed audio rather than reading translated subtitles” in fourth place. Next came “Dubbed TV shows have a higher quality of photography” in fifth place followed by people who are dubbing play a role in my choice of the dubbed TV show” in sixth (Figure 5).


Figure 5: Viewers interests in the Dubbed Shows.

When we asked the participants about their preferred audiovisual translation method, there was a close proximity between visual and audio dubbing, in which 54.7% (n=81) chose audio dubbing and 42.6% (n=63) chose visual subtitles. The remaining 2.7% (n=4) chose voice over. The results are displayed in the chart. Audiovisual translation is thought to be at the center of dubbed TV programs. According to (Gamal, 2007), this translation has had a significant impact on the young Arab population.

Also, young children usually find it difficult to follow with written subtitles in the screens. This is why it was observed that children were obsessed with dubbed TV shows as they were comprehending what is being said. Moreover, subtitles may act as a form of distraction, as the viewer is simultaneously focusing om reading.

However, subtitles still have some advantages, in which you are still able to hear the real voices and soundtracks of the shows, something which is hugely deficient with dubbing.

When we measured the attitude and perception of the participants towards dubbed shows, we found that “Dubbed TV shows have a better structured plot/story than native Arab TV shows” came in first place. It was followed by “Dubbed TV shows help me learn about foreign cultures”. In third place came “Dubbed TV shows encourage tourism,” followed by “I find it easier to follow up with a translated dubbed audio rather than reading translated subtitles” in fourth place. Next came “Dubbed TV shows have a higher quality of photography” in fifth place followed by “The people who are dubbing play a role in my choice of the dubbed TV show” in sixth.

These results can be explained by the regression of Arab shows in terms of plots and stories. The Turkish show industry which produces around 100 shows every year at an average cost of 250,000$ each enters the competition fiercely and is able to attract people’s attention. Also, the Turkish culture is not very different from the Arab society, although a bit more modern. Turkey is an Islamic country thus the values are shared among the two cultures. This specific point is missing when discussing dubbed shows from Mexico, Korea, or Japan.

It has been suggested by Ankit (2013) that people from Gulf and Arab countries watch Turkish TV series due to the common culture between them and Turkey, as well as the production quality of the TV series (Ankit, 2013).

The research also elaborates that the tourism in Turkey has grown because Arabs wanted to relive and replicate the way they saw the actors living on TV by themselves. Most of the positive impact that exporting Turkey series had on Turkey was the encouragement of tourism. A lot of times, tourists come and ask their tourist-guide to take them to areas where certain series were shot, and where the actors are living.

The amount of money an average Arab tourist spends in Turkey is higher than the average of any other nationality. The individual Arab pays an average of 600$ a day, which gets increased \gtwhen we account for the number of nights and the whole family coming in (Ankit, 2013).


Dubbed movies enjoy wide viewership in the UAE. The dubbed content has an audience that spans across various demographic groups (Kharroub & Weaver, 2014). The motivation to watch the dubbed television content comes from the interesting plot that the viewers perceive in the imported content (Buccianti, 2010). Therefore, improving the quality of locally produced content may improve local viewership and reduce the preference for dubbed movies in the future. Another factor that is evident from the research is that the university students in the UAE have a high preference for various accents in the translations. The Syrian and Lebanese accents are among the most preferred. The preference for the accents proves that movies from such countries are bound to enjoy large viewership within the UAE. Another crucial aspect of dubbed television content such as serials, soaps, and movies is the effect each of them has on the language of the viewer. Accordingly, the comprehensibility of a language is an important factor when determining the motives for watching the dubbed movies. For instance, dubbing hinders the ability of the viewers to learn a foreign language since the original audio track is either muffled or completely muted. Instead, it might help in improving the proficiency of the viewers in their local language. Therefore, in case of the UAE, the preference for dubbing foreign television shows might positively affect the proficiency of the citizens in the Arabic language. Moreover, dubbing comes with the advantage of allowing the audience to follow the flow and the plot of the program without any interruptions. On the other hand, most people tend to complain that reading subtitles during viewing distracts them from following other aspects of the television program, in particular the body language of the characters. Thus, dubbing, allows the viewers to spot any non-verbal cues that a character may express through various gestures and facial expressions without losing track of the verbal message.

Nonetheless, the research project was successful in proving establishing different factors that motivate university students to watch dubbed movies. Additionally, the research also discovered various insights regarding the matter such as the role that accent plays in motivating the resident of the UAE to watch the movies. Additionally, the research identified the shortage of cinematic content that originates from the UAE. Therefore, the local population feels deprived and, therefore, opts to outsource content from abroad (Yunis, 2014). Such importation of content increases the viewership of the foreign television programs, a factor that translates to increased profits for them.


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