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Wed 15 Jul 2009 02:33 PM

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Showtime CEO baffled by low subscription claims

Marc-Antoine d’Halluin denies low subscription numbers behind merger with Orbit.

Pay TV provider Showtime has denied suggestions that poor subscription numbers are behind the company’s merger with rival Orbit.

When speaking to press on Monday, Showtime chief executive Marc-Antoine d’Halluin said he was bemused by such claims, which had also been levelled at Orbit.  

“I have always read that with a question mark or smile because we have never communicated on our subscriber numbers on both sides because we were afraid the other side would know,” he joked.

“Also we are private companies and we don’t think we should communicate on such numbers. Each one of us had hundreds of thousands of subscribers and the combination of the two will essentially multiply by two the size of each one of the entity.

“By that I mean the subscriber bases were not far apart, so at the very least it is a multiplication by two and in fact it’s more than that for revenues. It is a very strong leading media player that we are building together, which will immediately be at the top of the ranking in terms of size and revenues in the Middle East and MENA region.

On Sunday, Showtime Arabia and Orbit announced a merger to create the “biggest Pay-TV platform” in the Middle East and North Africa.

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

A day following the merger, d’Halluin said Showtime subscribers would have access to three Orbit channels, Super Movies, America Plus and Super Comedy, for a promotional period ending in August.

Meanwhile, people with Orbit packages were told they could watch Showmovies 1, Showseries, E! Entertainment and Showcomedy during the same period.

Orbit viewers were also promised access to English Premier League football via Showsports 2 when the new season starts on August 15.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Yaser 11 years ago

In my opinion; as an outside customer; the subscription to Showtime, Orbit and ART is not a good deal in each case. I have lived in many other countries; and i think the subscription here is way too high. It is around 50- 100 US Dolllars a month i think; and it is a huge sum of money; not in terms of the amount but in terms; that most subscribers want to watch their cable when there is something interesting for them such as match or movie. I think the most successful is Al Jazeera sport channel because they had really given a low cost to subscription that nobody would consider not taking. In the case of others; i remember and i know many guys would consider going to coffee shops to watch the match; because as i said; they wouldnt pay 60 or 70 dollars a month to watch one game each weekend. My advice to all these pay TV network is to lower subscriptions and they will definitely see a surge in people subscribing.