Marc-Antoine d’Halluin, the head of the struggling Middle East pay-TV network Orbit Showtime Network, has quit. He himself confirmed his departure to a local newspaper, saying he will stay in Dubai for the time being.
He is reportedly being replaced by David Butorac, until a year ago CEO at Australia’s WIN Corp. Butorac left WIN, Australia’s fourth TV network, under something of a cloud having been fired by billionaire owner Bruce Gordon. Butorac subsequently sued WIN for almost A$1m. Prior to this he worked for Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB and at Star Group in Hong Kong.
Marc-Antoine d’Halluin had worked for Showtime in Dubai since late 2006, having replaced Peter Einstein. He was then given the role of running the merged Showtime/Orbit pair of former rivals in July last year.
Orbit Showtime is something of a poisoned chalice of a job, given the absolute domination of free-to-air TV in the region. Orbit itself is known to have struggled since 1994 to make any sort of profit out of its broadcasting arm (although it claims its TV production operation is profitable).
Last month Egypt’s giant Media Production City in Cairo closed down the studios being used by Orbit claiming that Orbit hadn’t paid its bills. Orbit-Showtime has also faced tough local competition from well-funded local broadcasters who have moved into pay-TV, especially sports coverage.