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There was a time when Orbit, now part of the OSN pay-TV broadcaster, charged $5000 – and this is not a typo – for its premium TV content, such was the rarity of high-quality programming in the Gulf states.
Now, under new CEO Martin Stewart (appointed in June 2016) the basic access price for OSN has been trimmed dramatically. The entry level for a bundle of 32 channel (the ‘Get Started’ pack is just $20. Subscribers then have to add on from a wide portfolio of supplementary bundles which if sport and movies are included would still top out at $89 a month.
The price cuts are seen as a direct response to increased competition in the MENA region, not least from Al Jazeera-backed beIN Sport/Media, and growing competition from other OTT and cable/DSL-based service providers.
Stewart was CFO at Sky from 1998 to 2004, and following a two-year period at EMI he was also CFO at the Football Association from February 2016 to June 2016.