Leading MENA pay-TV network buys South Asian content provider

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OSN, a leading pay-TV network in the Middle East and North Africa, announced on Monday its acquisition of one of the largest providers of South Asian pay-TV content, Pehla Media & Entertainment.

“The strategic acquisition allows us to broaden our appeal to another sector of the market that is of high importance in this region, so we can offer the very best services across our now much wider range of languages,” OSN CEO David Butorac told Al Arabiya.

Pehla Media & Entertainment is the region’s largest provider of South Asian pay-TV content. It brings around 40 South Asian channels speaking Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam.

The channels will provide dubbing and subtitles for their content, in consultation with OSN, said Butorac.

Channels dedicated to bringing Bollywood to the Arab world will not necessarily have cause for concern.

“The acquisition isn’t a threat at all,” Raj Dharuman, senior executive at free-to-air channel B4U Middle East, told Al Arabiya.

“If you look at the Arabic market, it’s still a space for free-to-air broadcasters,” he added.

Besides dramas and Bollywood blockbusters, other advantages of the acquisition include the telecast rights to certain cricket games, series and championships, whose audiences are growing outside the subcontinent.

The newly acquired exclusive rights are set to bring in international fans through the CricOne and Ten Cricket channels, broadcasting the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, the ICC Championships Trophy, the ICC World Twenty20 and the Champions League.

OSN’s current exclusive cricket rights include The Ashes and The Champions League Twenty20.

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