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Dubai-based MyHD Media is in the process of relaunching. It lost its former CEO (Cliff Nelson) a few months ago in July and appointed Samir Safer to take over. Safer comes with experience, not least winning a claimed 500,000 subscribers to its Kathmandu-based Dish Media Network in Nepal. Dish Nepal, as at June 2015, said it had 110 channels on air.
Safer admits that the former MyHD objectives had not been reached and its shareholders had appointed him to change the operation and content on offer within the current packages.
“One of our aims is to be a low-cost [pay] package for Arab nations. Currently this does not exist in the market. We know we face challenges but we are focusing our efforts on 22 Arabic-speaking nations, but we also recognise there’s a lot of piracy,” said Safer.
“Early next year we will launch an all-Mahgreb package on Arabsat, where we want to see more local content available and content with Arabic subtitles. We are also talking to [encryption specialists] Irdeto about 4K movies for the region. Everyone wants HDTV channels, but nobody is willing to pay for HD. Our major channels, from MBC and Rotana, are in HD. We are also aware of the costs of new digital HD versions of some of the region’s older – but still popular – movies.”
Safer said that MyHD had distributed some 200,000 set-top boxes for an initial deposit/fee of just $54 for a year’s viewing but not enough had been done to follow up. “We had terrible churn,” he admitted.
The new plan is intending to assemble about 30 channels for the Maghreb, about 80 for the MENA region and another 80 or so drawn from the ART/Pehla group of Asian channels and services.
“We want to be creative,” he added. “We want more attractive and original Arabic production. My idea is to bring channels and producers into the bouquets. I’d also love to see a ‘one-stop shop’ single common STB with compatible ‘smart’ cards from Irdeto and Conax.”