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Ramadan, which this year runs through Aug. 18, is the equivalent of sweeps weeks for Middle East broadcasters. Channels across the region program new series that air for the entire holy month, targeting audiences who traditionally stay home and watch with their extended families. Ratings during Ramadan are higher than at any other period throughout the year. The satellitte TV business earns a major chunk of its revenue — often up to a quarter of annual sales — during the single 30-day period.

YouTube’s Ramadan channel will feature hundreds of episodes of Ramadan shows provided by YouTube’s broadcast partners in the region, including Rotana, CBS-Egypt, Melody and Promomedia. Distribution will be restricted to the site itself, though YouTube will allow users to share shows and comment on them online.

YouTube will split online revenue generated by the site with its network partners. Foods giant Unilever will be the main sponsor of the Ramadan channel, which looks to target fans across the Middle East and further abroad.