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Tue 21 Jul 2020 10:09 AM

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Byron Allen inks UAE deal expanding US networks to Middle East

The multi-year agreement brings seven of Entertainment Studios' cable networks to Du

Byron Allen inks UAE deal expanding US networks to Middle East

Allen, a comedian and television producer, acquired the well-known cable network for an expected $300 million in 2018 with ambitions of taking his portfolio of assets overseas.

Entertainment Studios, a subsidiary of Allen Media Group founded by Byron Allen, is expanding coverage of its cable networks to the United Arab Emirates.

The first-time deal with SAWA Rights Management, a content rights company based in the Middle East, bolsters Allen’s portfolio of media assets with coverage outside of the US and follows a recent settlement with Comcast Corp.

The multi-year agreement facilitated by SAWA Rights brings seven of Entertainment Studios’ cable networks to Du, the home internet and television platform in the region operated by Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. 

The companies said the deal is expected to extend to neighbouring markets in the Middle East, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt and more.

“The international demand for American content is a multi-billion dollar marketplace,” said Tom Devlin, president of international television sales/marketing for Entertainment Studios.

Still, the distribution deal does not include The Weather Channel, a company spokesman told Bloomberg News.

Allen, a comedian and television producer, acquired the well-known cable network for an expected $300 million in 2018 with ambitions of taking his portfolio of assets overseas.

Allen Media Group has been steadfast in its ambitions to grow its list of assets. In March, the company joined a swath of bids vying for Tegna Inc. with its $8.5 billion all-cash offer including debt. Deal talks for Tegna soon cooled, with most companies impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19. Additionally, Allen’s company played a minor hand in Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s $9.6 billion purchase of the Fox regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co. last year.

The deal includes: 

  • Cars.TV - A network that showcases the collectors, designers, innovators, and the ultimate car enthusiasts.
  • Comedy.TV - A network dedicated to today's funniest comedians, featuring a mix of live concert performances, talk and variety shows, sitcoms and movies.
  • ES.TV - A network dedicated to entertainment news, variety shows, celebrity profiles and today's hottest superstars. 
  • MyDestination.TV - A network dedicated to the best in travel featuring fun, exciting, exotic must-see destinations around the world.  
  • Pets.TV - A network dedicated to pets. 
  • Recipe.TV - A network dedicated to famous chefs, amazing recipes, and delicious cuisine from around the world. 
  • Justice Central.TV - A network dedicated to judges and court shows, legal news, and the world's biggest trials. 

(Edited to add TV networks)

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