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Middle East pay TV's titanic struggle

by Aaron Greenwood on Jul 30, 2009




The merger of Showtime-Orbit ranks as arguably the biggest development (other than that small matter otherwise known as the global recession) to impact the Middle East broadcast industry in 2009.

Trumpeted by the partners as 'the merger that had to happen' to assure the struggling pay TV industry of some certainty moving forward, the agreement places Showtime's existing management firmly in the hotseat in terms of steering the company successfully through the current economic downturn.

Yet the company's future is by no means guaranteed. Its one great trump card - the English Premier League football TV rights - have been stolen away by Abu Dhabi Media Company, while rampant piracy, limited advertising revenues and consumer apathy could conspire to nullify any commercial advantages provided by the merger.

Add to that, persistent rumours of a third and fourth major pay TV provider eyeing Middle East expansion suggests change in the MENA pay TV market has only just begun.

So, what of the Showtime-Orbit alliance? What can the broadcaster do to ensure its long-term economic viability? What technologies could it (and should it) profitably introduce? What of these unnamed organisations planning to establish pay TV operations in the region?

Have your say now! 

(* DPme.com will not stand accused of scurrilous industry rumour mongering - but don't let that stop you!).


FEATURED COMMENT

Too many people in the Middle East are priced out of pay TV. Even the basic packages are expensive. Maybe they need an e

  3 Comments


Readers' Comments


Naresh (Jul 30, 2009)
It's all about price
Too many people in the Middle East are priced out of pay TV. Even the basic packages are expensive. Maybe they need an extremely cheap option to draw people in. From there they can entice subscribers with flashy ads and promos to upgrade or to use pay per view services.

Bruce (Jul 30, 2009)
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

need the footy
Unless they can show the premier league in high deffo tellie they're all goin down the gurgler anyway.

Arnold (Jul 30, 2009)
Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Rabbit out a hat
"Unnamed pay TV operators"? Echostar AND Abu Dhabi Media Company? Makes perfect sense for Abu Dhabi to launch its own pay TV operations now it has the EPL rights - the word on the street is that this has been in the works for a while...although, I could be wrong! Showtime-Orbit really needs to beef up its content - at the moment there's way too much crossover between the two providers and very little that's not available elsewhere...I reckon Showtime would do well to buy the rights to NRL Rugby League matches from Australia - AFL (stupid game) is nothing more than an annoyance.


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