Not so long ago the then two main Middle East pay-TV broadcasters Orbit and Showtime were both losing cash and neither making much progress with subscribers. In 2009 they merged into the Orbit Showtime Network (OSN), and started making the changes, both operationally and financially, that have since led to stronger growth and profits.
OSN is now widely recognised as being profitable and says that in 2012 it recorded more than 30 per cent subscriber growth. OSN says its highest growth was in Saudi Arabia (35 per cent). The company is rolling out to new markets such as Qatar and Libya, and is adding extra HDTV channels, promising at least 5 more this year which will take its total to around 40.
Helping the growth is a much stronger encryption system and upgraded set-top box which helped curb the significant piracy which it had suffered.
David Butorac, CEO of OSN says: “The strong growth recorded in 2012 is a clear testament to the success of our compelling content offering, advanced digital innovations and our focus on leveraging the reach of the internet to offer customers more control, choice, content and convenience. OSN’s success is also fuelled by our steadfast commitment to invest in the latest technology to deliver the widest choice of premium and exclusive entertainment that reflects the varied preferences of viewers across the region.”