With the majority of listeners believing that thriller series, The Basement, was real, Finyal Media has since released a disclaimer to highlight that the series is a work of fiction.

27th December 2020 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates: FinyalMedia, a regional podcast network that focuses on creating audio storytelling experiences that cater to young Arabs across MENA, has excitedly touted that the reaction to their popular podcast series, The Basement, has surpassed their own expectations, with a large portion of listeners becoming so immersed in the fictional series that they believe it to be real. The network has received an influx of comments and messages on their social media platforms, as well as on the show’s pages in various listening platforms, from listeners addressing the main character, Fadi, from messages of support and encouragement to concerns over his wellbeing and safety. Finyal has gone as far as to issue a disclaimer on particularly intense episodes of the series to remind listeners that the events within are works of fiction.

The Basement, a gripping fictional mystery thriller, is centred around Fadi Younan, a washed-up YouTube star who is looking for a way to reclaim his fame and success in the Arab world, creating a podcast to track down the owner of a horrifying box of tapes he finds in the basement of his new home. Over a dozen actors were involved in the making of The Basement using first-time recording methods to ground the audio in reality, including on-location recordings and fully acting out scenes as if shooting a film. These recording techniques helped to bring a stronger sense of realism and authenticity to every scene and introduced true grit and raw emotion into each edit. 

This sense of realism has paid off in a unique audience reaction – with many believing Fadi and his story are real, and investing in his journey beyond the boundaries of fiction. Finyal’s Instagram, as well as the series’ pages across listening platforms and on podcast aggregate site AR-Podcasts, have received a litany of comments from listeners the world round wishing to speak to Fadi, to leave comments that he can read on his show, to wish him luck and tell him they’re on his side, and to check on his wellbeing and safety as the series’ events intensified.

The response from the audience highlights the power of fictional storytelling in the audio realm given the series’ability to engage listeners and have them question the reality of the podcast. The unique reaction also harkens back to the infamous War of the Worlds radiocast from 1938, where Orson Welles produced a radio play of the well-known H.G. Wells novel, a thriller in its own right centred on a fearsome alien invasion, and incited panic across the nation in the United States, with people running from their homes and believing aliens had actually come to Earth. 82 years on, The Basement is drawing the same response from listenersbelieving that Fadi’s conflict is real across the MENA region and beyond, with the series having been listened to in over 150 countries.

Commenting on the show, Mshari Alonaizy, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Finyal Media, said: “We are extremely excited to have drawn such a reaction from the approach we took with The Basement. Our team worked hard to ensure we developed the scripts in a way that felt natural to our reality and unfolded in the way it would in real life, and that the acting was not only convincing, but felt like a real person speaking their mind, not just reading lines. We believe in the fictional storytelling format, and this reaction only tells us that our belief is well-placed. We’re always looking at creating more formats and finding new ways to innovate in the Arabic fictional podcast space. Look out for much more exciting content from us in the year to come.”

As specialists in the storytelling podcast space, Finyal Media focuses on producing fictional series for the rapidly growingpodcast industry, aiming to bridge the gap in the market to create engaging, relatable content to connect with the younger generation.

The Basement is available on all podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Anghami, Deezer, Spotify and many more. As well as on FinyalMedia website.  

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