News Column

OSN acquires Pehla

August 27, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 27--OSN has acquired Pehla Media & Entertainment and will offer around 40 channels in a variety of South Asian languages in the Mena region.

The leading pay-TV network, which already offers 100 channels to viewers in 24 countries in the region, did not disclose the value of the deal. Pehla broadcasts in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam. The region and specially the UAE is home to millions of expatriate workers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"OSN Pehla now gives us the opportunity to reach out to one of the largest demographics in Mena," OSN chief executive officer David Butorac told reporters at a news conference in Dubai on Monday.

The acquisition brings the best in Bollywood and premium cricket, with exclusive telecast rights of the ICC Cricket World Cup. OSN Pehla will underscore the network's position as the ultimate destination for premium content.

"OSN has already established its credentials in premium Arabic, Western and Filipino entertainment, providing unrivalled content through technologically advanced platforms and unmatched on-demand and on-the-go television experiences. OSN Pehla customers will now be able to enjoy the same value added services and benefit from OSN's award-winning customer services, our values and international industry standards," Butorac said.

In June, Kuwait Projects Company or Kipco, the majority owner of OSN shares, disclosed that it had hired Rothschild to advise on the options for an initial public offering (IPO).

"As it stands today there are no current plans for the IPO," Butorac said. Kipco owns 60.5 per cent of OSN's shares while a Saudi family-owned conglomerate Mawarid Group owns the remaining 39.5 per cent.

OSN had 734,000 subscribers by the end of last year and out of which 29 per cent were in the UAE, 24 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 14 per cent in Qatar. Following the acquisition, Pehla subscribers will continue to enjoy an uninterrupted and seamless television experience. OSN Pehla customers will soon receive free access to OSN Play. The new channels that are now available under OSN Pehla include popular entertainment choices such as Sony, Star Plus, Sun TV, Zee TV, Geo TV, ARY Digital, Asianet Middle East, Colors, Gemini TV and Kairali among others.

OSN Pehla will offer the best of Bollywood through Sony Max, Star Gold, UTV Movies International and Zee Cinema, while news followers from South Asia can tune into Asianet News, Dawn News, NDTV 24x7, Times Now and Aaj Tak.

Lifestyle and music choices include Channel [V] India, MTV India, UTV Bindass and UTV Stars in addition to popular children's entertainment channels Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Baby TV.

OSN Pehla will also be the ultimate destination for cricket fans through CricOne and Ten Cricket, offering exclusive access to the widely followed ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy, ICC World Twenty20 and Champions League. This complements OSN's existing exclusive cricket rights which include The Ashes and The Champions League Twenty20.

--abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

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(c)2013 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Visit the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) at www.khaleejtimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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