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Iranian music star Googoosh (R) performs on stage with guitarist Babak Saeedi during the season finale of "Googoosh Music Academy," a music competition show on Persian-language entertainment channel Manoto 1, in London in this handout taken November 2011.Launched in 2010, family-owned satellite channel Manoto 1’s programming has struck a chord inside Iran and gained what is likely to be millions of fans since launching in 2010, though it is periodically jammed by Iran’s Islamic government.But in a country whose government tries to instil Islamic values by strictly regulating popular culture, even an entertainment channel like Manoto has angered authorities, who view it as part of a cultural “soft war” waged by the West.The Iranian government sometimes jams Manoto’s signal, according to viewers.Though satellite channels can be accessed worldwide, experts believe the vast majority of the viewership for Persian-language channels is inside Iran.Manoto’s popular news satire show, hosted by a cartoon monkey named Dr.The report did not name the venture capital firms behind the station.
According to Manoto figures, over four million viewers voted for their favourite contestant on the new season last fall, and the final episode attracted nearly 140,000 views on You Tube.
Manoto continues Bebin’s focus on youth culture on a more ambitious scale, with several original shows, a second channel that airs documentaries and licenses to broadcast Miss World, the Golden Globes and the Grammy Awards.
Iranian music star Googoosh (C) stands on stage with guitarist Babak Saeedi (6th L) and contestants during the season finale of "Googoosh Music Academy," a music competition show on Persian-language entertainment channel Manoto 1, in London in this handout taken November 2011.
After less than two years on the air, Manoto (“Me and You”) has outstripped its closest rivals, BBC Persian, Farsi 1, GEM TV and Voice of America (VOA), according to the number of “likes” each channel receives on its Facebook page - an imperfect proxy used by some experts to assess the channels in lieu of independent media survey firms in Iran.
As of mid-April, more than 620,000 people listed themselves as Manoto fans on Facebook - more than twice the number of its biggest competitor.
REUTERS/Manoto/Handout Media professionals and experts and Iran watchers said it was not known what role politics played in the Abbassis’ business strategy, if any.