My-HD launching low-cost MENA bouquet

Dubai-based My-HD is launching a low-cost all-HD bundle of 20 channels exclusively using Arabsat and with the aim of dramatically undercutting the prices charged by the Middle East’s existing pay-TV bouquets of OSN, Al Jazeera Sports and Abu Dhabi Sports.

CEO Cliff Nelson, who was until recently SVP-Operations & Platform Development at OSN, and had previously held senior positions at Orbit and Showtime, is heading up the operation, and says that the market is ready for a low-cost, value for money supplier of premium HD content.

While top-level football is not part of My-HDs current line up, the broadcaster has secured all of the top-rated MBC channels in HD, as well as the Untamed Sports channel which offers a portfolio of speciality sport and lifestyle programming. It has also signed up leading Filipino channels from GMA, which should appeal to the region’s large number of guest workers. GMA has switched allegiance from OSN to My-HD.

Nelson says that My-HD has been influenced by the success of HD+ in Germany and is hoping for the same level of success. My-HD will charge the equivalent of about $4.50 a month for its basic bundle (which compares to the $60-$110 a month payable to the region’s more established pay-TV suppliers).

Speaking about the Filipino channels, Nelson says: “With over 2.4 million Filipinos in the Middle East, this community is one of the largest in the region and plays a significant role in the development of local economies, and with this agreement we aim to offer those viewers their favourite programmes on our one-stop-shop HD platform.”

It has signed with Irdeto for conditional access, and buyers of the special My-HD set-top box will get a free year’s subscription with the box. Box suppliers are TruView, Galaxis and discussions are advanced with other box suppliers.

My-HD had a ‘soft launch’ on May 1st and Nelson says he is delighted by the response to date. The official launch takes place on May 30th at the prestigious Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

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