Showtime Arabia, Orbit announce TV merger

Pay TV companies to form Mideast giant, offering 70 exclusive movie, sports channels.
By Rob Morris
Sun 12 Jul 2009 04:46 PM

Showtime Arabia and Orbit announced on Sunday a merger that will create the “biggest Pay-TV platform” in the Middle East and North Africa.

The newly-formed company is an equal partnership that will offer 70 exclusive channels featuring new movies, sports, Arabic content and international shows.

New customers can subscribe to packages featuring Showtime and Orbit programmes, while existing subscribers will be able to either retain or upgrade their content. The company will offer HD channels, video on demand and other interactive services.

“Showtime and Orbit were pioneers of the region’s pay-TV market and we’ve both been calling for consolidation of the market for some time. Joining forces in this way is good news for customers, staff and the regional television industry,” said Faisal Al Ayyar, vice chairman of Showtime Arabia parent company KIPCO.

“The new company will, for the first time, allow us to maximise the value of the two strongest regional TV brands. It is a turning point for the industry. It will unlock the potential of the market across MENA and realise the significant benefits of this unified platform. The new company with its two brands is poised for an exciting period of growth.”

Marc-Antoine d’Halluin, Showtime chief and now CEO of the newly merged company, said the deal was a significant step for the region’s pay-TV industry.

He added: “The new company will continue to run its core operations and corporate functions from Bahrain and Dubai, bringing together experienced and talented employees who are tasked with extracting significant synergies and delivering the best value from this merger for all our stakeholders and customers. We look forward to updating the market on this exciting merger and future plans.”

Details of when and how subscribers can update their packages were not revealed.

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