Web Series 'Helmy Online' on Yahoo! Maktoob Comedy
Helmy Online (حلمي أونلاين ), a new web comedy series presented by Egyptian actor Ahmad Helmy, recently launched exclusively on Yahoo! Maktoob. Webisodes, which range between 5 and 8, satirize mundane social issues, although I personally did not find them particularly funny.
Helmy Online is sponsored by 3 companies including Samsung.
The show, which is Ahmad Helmy’s first online project, aired its first episode on the 4th of December and has released five additional episodes since.
“At Yahoo! Maktoob we strive to make people’s daily use of the web more fun and inspiring. Watching video content represents one of the most popular activities in the Middle East. (Therefore) we are thrilled today to present video content that was specifically created for our audience in the region,” explains Ahmad Nassef, VP and General Manager at Yahoo! Maktoob in MENA.
Yahoo!’s effort to promote original content is commendable, but contrary to Nassef’s statement, the show does not feel entertaining or unique, instead it feels like a mix of incoherent blabber that invites shallow laughter and a superficial addressing verging on foolishness and idiocy.
One of the viewers comments: “I’ve watched all the episodes but still can’t figure out the purpose of the show or any lessons that can be taken from it.” Other commentators applauded the actor's sense of humor.
While Ahmad Helmy’s filmography is acceptable, the show’s content strays from comedy and instead included some sexist remarks.
What caught my attention also was the ‘frictionless’ link between Yahoo! Maktoob and Facebook that disregards any viewers privacy.
Yahoo!, which acquired Maktoob in 2009 and turned it into its Arabic edition, has been trying to pick up the pieces and address its 4 year run of declining sales. Yahoo!’s main revenue streams come from marketing and advertising.
It is worth mentioning that Yahoo! appointed a new CEO, Marissa Mayer, a long-time executive and key spokesperson for Google, in mid July.
Yahoo! also has totally revamped its email service in an effort to compete with Gmail, a product that Mayer has supervised in the past.