The outlook for Dubai-based pay-TV operator OSN appears grim with the service suffering what is described as being a “perfect storm” with MENA piracy the worst that it has ever been, according to an interview with Christophe Firth, a principal at management consulting business A T Kearney.
Card-sharing piracy is commonplace in the MENA region, as well as state-endorsed piracy in the form of beoutQ, the controversial operation that is pirating programming from beIN Media.
The interview is carried by Thomson Reuters ZAWYA publication, and its journalist Matt Smith says that rampant piracy as well as “plunging” advertising revenues (down 30-50 per cent over past 5 years) plus the rise of OTT rivals have pushed OSN into losses.
Kuwait sovereign wealth investment firm KIPCO has reportedly injected about $60 million into OSN last year, but has now put OSN up for sale, and ZAWYA says OSN’s losses last year were about $125 million.
According to Thomson Reuters KIPCO has not yet had any content with potential buyers.
Amidst regular reports of job-losses and cut backs (and a change of CEO) OSN announced in February it would close its sports channels, except for cricket coverage.