Alarab News Channel to start transmission on February 1

Alarab News Channel to start transmission on February 1

465Alarab News Channel was formally introduced with an announcement by its newly appointed chairman and CEO Fahd Al-Sukait that the channel will go on air from Feb. 1, 2015.

Addressing the international media at Manama’s Sherataon Hotel, Al-Sukait in the company of channel’s general manager and veteran journalist Jamal Khashoggi promised unbiased, objective and independent reporting by the channel which will mainly focus on general and financial news from around the world with special coverage of the region.

The multi-million dollar project has been in the pipeline for quite some time. It was initially planned to relay its transmission from Cairo but subsequent Arab Spring and some other technical difficulties made the management to shift to Manama, Bahrain.

The channel is headquartered in prestigious Moda Mall. Its state-of-the-art technology probably makes it one of the most technologically advanced news channel in the region.

The anchor room as well as newsroom is all equipped with robotics and Mozart technology which is currently possessed by just few Western TV channels.

During the press conference, both Al-Sukait and Jamal Khashoggi, repeatedly emphasized on the independence of the channel and both quoted Prince Waleed Bin Talal, the owner of the channel, as saying that he wants the channel to be absolutely independent in every aspect.

With a core focus on news, the all-Arabic language Alarab News Channel will deliver programming that covers politics, business and social affairs in addition to travel, sports and culture. The region’s leading business news will be delivered through its cooperation agreement with Bloomberg, which will provide world-class information to the region’s business community.

Alarab will break the mold of news presentation, becoming a platform for transparent presentation and discussion of the region’s most intractable issues and challenges and will raise the relevant questions that are of concern to its viewers. Using expert opinion from renowned guests and never-before-seen social media interaction with its viewers, Alarab will deliver news through a creative and pioneering approach.

A full update on the channel, the management, the technical capabilities and a brief overview of the programs of the channel were shared with the media persons, who also had an exclusive tour of the studios.

Recently, Alarab won “Broadcast Project of the Year” and “Best Set Design”, two prestigious awards at the annual ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards in Dubai, reflecting the best-in-class infrastructure the team has put in place ahead of the launch.



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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL HITS AN ALL-TIME HIGH 50 MILLION FACEBOOK FANS

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL HITS AN ALL-TIME HIGH 50 MILLION FACEBOOK FANS

4158National Geographic Channel has reached 50 million Facebook fans, propelling the fan page into the top 50 pages worldwide1 and making National Geographic Channel the second largest global TV brand page on Facebook.

Here’s what 50 million fans look like:

•The top countries for National Geographic Channel Facebook Fans are:

India

Mexico

Brazil

Egypt

U.S.A.

•Other countries in the “million mark” club:

Philippines

Colombia

Argentina

Morocco

Algeria

Venezuela

Turkey

Tunisia

Pakistan

•Top region: Latin America

•Top World Cities are:

Cairo, Egypt

Mexico City, Mexico

Bogota, Colombia

New Delhi, India

•Top US Cities are:

New York

LA

Chicago

Houston

Miami

Las Vegas

San Diego

Dallas

San Antonio

Atlanta

•Most common languages used by National Geographic Channel Facebook fans are:

English

Spanish

Arabic

Portuguese

French

•Most popular National Geographic Channel Shows on Facebook:

Brain Games

Cosmos

“This 50 million-strong Facebook community allows us to keep all of our fans engaged at both the global and the local levels in all of the entertainment and information that National Geographic Channels offer. It’s a whole different level of experience with one of the best know media brands in the world”, said Liz Dolan, Chief Marketing Officer, National Geographic Channels International.

Sanjay Raina, Middle East General Manager at FOX International Channels, also added: “We are proud that National Geographic Abu Dhabi’s devoted Facebook fans make up 10.2 million out of those 50 million. National Geographic Abu Dhabi’s Arabic-speaking online community is dynamic, highly-engaged and deeply passionate about all topics related to factual entertainment. We look forward to further strengthening their social media interaction by continuing to provide them with a rich avenue for communication, information-sharing and creativity.”

To connect its online community, National Geographic Channels International (NGCI) redesigned its global Facebook fan pages to present a single brand to its 50 million users. National Geographic Channel’s Facebook fans are now automatically assigned to one of 38 unique regional or country feeds based on their location. This ensures users receive the most relevant television schedule and show content information in their timelines based on their country.



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MBC Group Eyeing European Football Leagues Coverage Rights

MBC Group Eyeing European Football Leagues Coverage Rights

Arab media giant launches 4 sports channels on back of winning rights to Saudi league

4118The Dubai-based MBC Group is eyeing rights to cover European football leagues as part of its most recent expansion which involved the launch of four new sports channels.

In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya News, the English language platform of Al Arabiya News Channel, MBC chairman Sheikh Waleed al-Ibrahim said that the group is considering leagues which “have no commitments at this stage.”

“There is nothing stopping us to bid for other leagues once their current broadcasting rights contracts expire,” Sheikh Waleed added.

Earlier this month, MBC Group - the region’s biggest broadcaster, of which Al Arabiya News is part - launched four new channels called “MBC Pro Sports” on the back of a landmark USD 960 million deal which secured rights to the Saudi football league matches.

Sheikh Waleed said that MBC’s vision is to transform the overall experience of how football is watched and enjoyed in the region.

“We are not only about covering them, we want to introduce the concept of sports entertainment to the Saudi viewer and to the whole region, we will raise standards and enhance the overall experience,” he added.

“We are in this for the long-haul and viewers should know that when we say that we are proud to have acquired the rights to the most important Arabian football league (the Saudi football league), we take this as a major responsibility on our part.”


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OSN Play records staggering growth; adds three new live-streaming channels

OSN Play records staggering growth; adds three new live-streaming channels

472OSN Play, the region’s first online viewing and award-winning platform, has strengthened its portfolio of live streaming channels with the addition of three new leading channels.

Joining OSN Sports 1, OSN Sports 2, OSN Sports Cricket and Disney Jr are Sky News, JimJam and Food Network, all of which stream live on OSN Play, in parallel to the network’s real-time broadcasts.

OSN Play saw a staggering 400 per cent increase in viewership compared to same period last year, in addition to a 60 per cent growth in subscriber registrations, underlining the growing popularity of consuming on-the-go TV entertainment.

Emad Morcos, SVP – Business Development and Digital at OSN, said: “OSN Play has truly elevated the digital television sector by bringing value-added services that were never explored in this region. From the catch-up option to the flexibility and convenience available to subscribers, OSN Play is undoubtedly one of the network’s most popular additions. We will continue to expand the offering and further enhance the user experience.”

OSN Play provides viewers with access to some of the most sought-after television series including box sets of Games of Thrones, Hareem Al Sultan, and House of Cards, among others. In addition to popular content such as Hannibal, Hemlock Grove, and critically-acclaimed Egyptian comedies and Arabic drama series, OSN Play offers a wealth of movies across all languages, and live broadcast of every cricket tournament around the world. At any given time, over a thousand hours of premium content are available for online viewing by OSN subscribers, with both an English and Arabic interface.

Through Sky News on OSN Play, subscribers can catch over 500 award-winning global correspondents provide innovative broadcasts of the latest in worldwide news. Among key highlights on Sky News are Jeff Randall Live and Sky News with Kay Burley.

The world’s largest repertoire of culinary programming on Food Network will give OSN Play users access to Nigella Express, Barefoot Contessa, Chopped, Food Network Challenge, and Iron Chef.

The jam-packed JimJam, dedicated to preschool children and their parents, is the ideal companion to parenting, providing a stimulating, fun and safe environment for young children. Some of the most popular shows on JimJam include Barney and Friends, Thomas and Friends, and Angelina Ballerina.

In 2013, OSN enhanced Play to meet the needs of Android smartphone and tablet users, and has since upgraded the platform to meet the current specifications of iOS and Smart TVs, with a more personalised navigation page for each individual subscriber, and the added option of social media connectivity and engagement.

Launched in March 2012, OSN Play provides customers with added value, convenience and enjoyment from their OSN subscription. OSN Play is absolutely free for OSN subscribers and the network’s exclusive deals with major studios including Warner Brothers, HBO and Disney guarantees viewers a line-up of the biggest and best movies and series from Hollywood and beyond. With OSN Play, viewers now have more control over when and how they watch their preferred shows either on TV, computer or laptop, iPad or Android Tablets.





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Alarab TV and Riyadh-based DurAlpha Group join forces

Alarab TV and Riyadh-based DurAlpha Group join forces

463In its quest to create the region’s most innovative news programming channel, Alarab TV today announced it had signed a multi-year deal with Riyadh-based media company, DurAlpha Group.

Commenting on the deal, Mr Fahad Al Sukeit, CEO of Alarab TV, said: “Our goal is to change the way people in the Arab world think about news. Our staff, our studios and now this deal all point the way to fulfilling that goal.”

DurAlpha is one of Saudi Arabia’s leading media production companies with a long track record of producing outstanding programmes. The announcement underlines Alarab TV’s commitment to delivering the very best news coverage of the Kingdom when the channel launches later this year.

“We are delighted to form this partnership with Alarab TV,” said Mr Bandar Abdul Salam, CEO of DurAlpha Group. “We are excited that we can be part of the channel’s programming, helping shine a light on the issues that matter most to Saudi viewers.”




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Thanks, but no thanks: KIPCO snubs $3.2 billion offer to buy OSN entertainment

Thanks, but no thanks: KIPCO snubs $3.2 billion offer to buy OSN entertainment

449Kuwait Projects Company (Kipco) has rejected a $3.2 billion takeover offer from a US private equity firm for its pay-television subsidiary OSN, the parent company said in a bourse filing on Sunday.

Kipco owns 60.5 percent of OSN while Saudi Arabia-based Mawarid Group holds the remainder. They jointly refused an offer from the US firm, which was not identified in the statement.

The offer comprised $2.4 billion in cash and a further $800 million subject to certain conditions, according to Kipco. It said the offer was for between 51 and 100 percent of OSN; it did not elaborate.

Dubai-based brokerage Arqaam Capital last year valued OSN at $4.3 billion.

The TV company has operations across Mena, and posted earnings of 139.5 million dinars ($494 million) in 2013.

Kipco said early this year that OSN might float on the London stock exchange in 2014, but OSN chief executive David Butorac told reporters in May that a public share sale was not imminent





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Laila Al Sheikhly to join Alarab News Channel

Laila Al Sheikhly to join Alarab News Channel

4152Alarab News Channel announced that Laila Al Sheikhly is to join the channel’s news team. She will anchor one of the channel’s news programmes and brings with her nearly 25 years of experience in broadcast journalism. Laila joins Alarab from Al Jazeera and will form part of a near-300 strong team bringing the region’s freshest news channel to air later this year.

“To be part of a new channel is a great opportunity; to be part of a new channel with the clear vision and the professional standards of Alarab is an opportunity too good to miss,” said Ms Sheikhly. “I hope I can bring a style to the channel which touches the audience and wins us a loyal group of followers.”

Alarab is a brand new style of news programming, designed to give a new generation of news watchers what they need. Alarab aims to bring its viewers news from around the world which impacts their lives, and set it in the context of the region’s history and politics. The all-Arabic channel will include extensive news programming as well as regular news roundups, travel and the channel’s deal with Bloomberg will enable it to bring business people the very latest information they need.

Laila Al Sheikhly started her career in journalism in 1990 in Washington as a newscaster with ANA. In 1994 she moved to BBC Arabia to become its first female presenter and her list of firsts continued in 1996 when she because the first Arab female to host a political programme when she did so with MBC in 1996. She spent seven years at Abu Dhabi television from 1999 to 2006 when she joined Al Jazeera in 2006.




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OSN revamps website to support multiplatform browsing

OSN revamps website to support multiplatform browsing

475OSN, the region’s leading pay-TV network, has revamped its website (osn.com) to provide visitors an enhanced experience and seamless access across multiple devices.

Featuring a new ‘responsive design’ that automatically optimises the website for any device, from smartphones to tablets, visitors can now surf, share and purchase an OSN subscription on-the-go anytime, anywhere at their convenience. OSN’s revamped website also boasts an enriched content offering, allowing visitors the ability to share pages via social media and personalise their experience.

According to analysis carried out by OSN, 21% of the total visitors to osn.com log on from mobile devices and tablets while new visitors to the site account for 47% of traffic. Users of Apple’s iOS operating system log on most frequently, followed by Android users.

Hamad Malik, Chief Marketing Officer, OSN, said: “Based on market and internet traffic analysis and feedback from our customers, OSN has made a significant investment to redesign our website and enhance the overall experience for our online visitors.

“Subscribing to OSN couldn’t be easier – with just a few clicks, you can subscribe to a variety of packages from the comfort of your home or even while you’re out and about from a mobile or tablet, securely.”

The website features easy-to-access menus and more indepth information on OSN’s premium content choices, schedules, subscription packages, as well as its value-added services such as OSN Play and OSN Privileges. Through the new attractive and engaging design, subscribers can also search their preferred OSN content, with dedicated country-specific information.

Visitors to the site can also upgrade their current subscriptions by selecting additional services to complement their television viewing experience. Help and support functions have been enhanced as well. To make the most of your browsing experience, log on to osn.com.



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OSN BRINGS VIEWERS OVER 13 NEW ARABIC SHOWS, THIS RAMADAN

OSN BRINGS VIEWERS OVER 13 NEW ARABIC SHOWS, THIS RAMADAN

4121OSN, the region’s leading pay-TV network is underlining its credentials as the ‘gateway to premium content’, this Ramadan, with an unparalleled repertoire of exclusive Arabic content, offering something for every member of the family to enjoy.

Boasting 13 new shows, including seven exclusive, and two Khaleeji shows, OSN’s Ramadan programming features the biggest Arab stars including Jamal Sulaiman, Ghada Abdul Razek, Maysa’a Moghrabi, Sharif Salama, Sireen Abdul Noor and Nayef Al Rashed.

In addition to brand-new shows, audiences can also tune into OSN’s ‘On Demand’ service, ‘Ramadan Ma Fatak TV’, which offers access to over 20 dramas, via OSN Plus HD giving viewers complete control over their viewing experience so they can watch what they want, when they want. Shows will also be available to catch up on OSN Play, OSN’s award-winning online TV viewing platform – giving viewers all the flexibility they need to personalise their Ramadan viewing.

Khulud Abu Homos, Executive Vice President – Programme & Creative Services, OSN, said: “Having tripled our investment in premium content this year, we are confident that our newly-unveiled repertoire of exclusive, fresh and long-format dramas will appeal to one and all. Our endeavour is to raise the bar with every new production taking Arabic programming to new heights. We have something for everyone and our state-of-the-art technology and services will ensure that people can enjoy their entertainment anytime without compromising on the values of the Holy Month.”

The best of Khaleeji drama:

Among the latest Khaleeji dramas are Lel Hob Jonoon, featuring renowned actors Abdulmuhsen Al Nimer and Maysa’a Moghrabi who tell a story of love, trust, revenge, and betrayal. Catch this sure-hit series exclusively on OSN Ya Hala HD; while Naif Al Rashid tackles sensitive issues across the Gulf – from love to broken families, the power of money to the strength of dreams in Intikam Aziz, exclusively on OSN Ya Hala HD.

World-class Egyptian dramas:

Egyptian superstar Ghada Abdulrazik sheds light on the trials and tribulations of a woman’s ambitions to become the first lady of Egypt, when an attempted assassination of the President results in chaos and the only person who knows the truth is found dead. The action-packed Al Sayida Al Oula will mark its on-screen premiere on OSN Ya Hala HD.

Maxim Khalil and Cyrine Abdelnour star in Seerat Hob S1– an enchanting love story guaranteed to melt even the toughest of hearts. Set in the modern Arab world, the show provides all the frills and thrills expected from a romantic drama exclusively on OSN Ya Hala HD.

Ahmed Mekky starrer Al Kabir Awoi returns for its fourth season, guaranteeing viewers non-stop entertainment. Tune in for buckets of laughter from the first day of Ramadan only on OSN Ya Hala Shabab HD.

Other highlights include Sherif Salama’s Al Khatia’a S1, which tells the story of betrayal, when one loose end results in the lives of an interconnected group of people unravelling. A thrilling drama sure to keep you at the edge of your seat, catch Sherif’s stunning performance on OSN Ya Hala Shabab HD.

Plus, Rania Youssef shows how greed can close the blinds towards the people closest to you in Wasaya Al Saba’a, on OSN Ya Hala Drama HD.

Leading Arab dramas:

In Sadeeq Al Omr, Jamal Suleiman epitomises the reign of former Egyptian President, Jamal Abdel Nassar, from 1961 to 1967, highlighting his greatest achievement, the Nationalisation of the Suez Canal; the unification of Egypt and Syria in the United Arab Republic; and the six-day War. Audiences can watch conspiracy, friendship, and drama come to life, on OSN Ya Hala Shabab HD.

Critical issues in society take the centrestage in Taim Hassan and Bassel Khayat Al Ekhwah S2. Conspiracies and plots get exposed by greed and exploitation, and clashes will arise when immense passion hits the harsh reality of betrayal. A thrilling drama full of unexpected twists is in store in this captivating story, exclusively on OSN Ya Hala Drama HD.

Abed Fahid and Youssef Al Khal star in Low, a thrilling drama of love, murder and mystery. For a different type of love story, tune into OSN Ya Hala Drama HD from the beginning of Ramadan.

The essence of Ramadan:

Headlining OSN’s Ramadan programming is Saudi journalist Mustafa Alaidaroos who brings to light the necessity of having good faith and a good heart, inspired by the Holy Quran. Salim addresses Arab youth and families and discusses self-awareness, social development, and improvement. Catch Alaidaroos’ wisdom only on OSN Ya Hala HD.



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Game of Thrones to mark season finale on June 16, exclusively on OSN

Game of Thrones to mark season finale on June 16, exclusively on OSN

496The most highly-anticipated movies and TV series of 2014 are set to mark their second screen premiere this June, exclusively on OSN, the region’s leading pay-TV network.

Headlining the June programming is an audience favourite and undoubtedly one of the most-watched and most talked about shows in HBO’s production history, Game of Thrones, which marks its season finale on June 16th at 22:00 KSA.

Series fans can also enjoy the American supernatural police drama, Sleepy Hollow, a modern-day take on the 1820 short story ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,’ which marks its premiere on OSN First HD, on June 15th, at 20:00 KSA; while Burn Notice and Survivor: Cagayan, gear up for their season finales on June 8th at 19:00 KSA, and 6th at 22:00 KSA, respectively, on OSN First HD.

Comedy-lovers are in for a treat this month with the series premiere of Growing Up Fisher, the story of an eclectic family brought together by their parents’ separation, when Mel Fisher, their father and lawyer, is determined not to let the fact that he’s blind slow him down. Catch the series premiere on June 14th at 18:00 KSA exclusively on OSN First Comedy HD.

On the movies front, there’s plenty to look forward to!

The critically acclaimed The LEGO Movie, which follows Emmet, an average LEGO minifigure, who is mistakenly identified as the key to saving the world, will make its TV appearance this month. Tune into this adventure of epic proportions starring Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman, from June 20th, on OSN Movies Box Office HD.

The Spartans return for an encore in 300: Rise of an Empire, following the adrenaline-fuelled 2007 blockbuster. In the sequel, General Themistokles leads an invasion against mortal-turned-idol Xerxes and Artemisia, the commanders of the Persian forces. The film will be available on OSN Movies Box Office HD from June 27th.

OSN will also bring array of family-friendly movies during the Holy Month of Ramadan, with daily films at 15:00 KSA, including: Ice Age: Continental Drift; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Oz – The Great and Powerful; Monsters University; Life of Pi and Iron Man 3 to name a few.

Reality television takes the centrestage on E!HD with the premiere of The Escape Club, the one-hour series that sends 12 twenty-somethings to escape and reboot their lives on an exclusive, exotic resort. There is one catch though; each group must sacrifice one of their members each week, to make way for new blood. Catch the premiere on June 29th, at 22:00 KSA on E!HD exclusively on OSN.




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