Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Starz Play Arabia CEO: Pay Television Occupying 10% Percent of Regional Broadcast Market - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Dubai – CEO of Starz Play Arabia, Maaz Sheikh, hailed the infrastructure in the Arab Gulf region that allows pay television providers to offer different content at a time when large segments of the youth help draw high-quality programs.

He revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat: “Pay television providers managed to occupy 10 percent of the broadcast market compared to non-pay television.”

The Dubai-based Starz Play Arabia covers 19 Arab countries and seeks to provide English, Arabic and French content at competitive prices that can cater to all classes of society. The provider also offers the most famous television programs and movies, which air at the same time as the United States, Sheikh said.

Asked what makes the Arab world such an attraction for pay television, he replied: “Non-pay television dominates the area, while pay television has managed to garner 10 percent of the market. Viewers are looking for quality in exchange for money.”

“New and exclusive movies and television shows are not available on non-pay television, while the region’s youth realizes the value of the internet and prefers to pay for on-demand service,” Sheikh explained.

He stressed that the Gulf region has the necessary internet infrastructure to ensure the success of pay television.

Starz Play Arabia currently has 80 employees, half of whom are Arab. The main challenge the company is facing is how to provide the best payment method for the service, he revealed.

On the factors that help execute the company’s strategy, he said: “The company’s website is user-friendly and is available in Arabic. Arabic subtitles are also available for all the content.”

Viewers in the Arab Maghreb can also enjoy programs that have been dubbed into French.

Furthermore, the Starz Arabia CEO added that service provides “unprecedented” Arabic content from across the Arab world, making it one of the best providers in the region.

Several shows are being aired on the internet for the first time and viewers will also be able to catch up any episodes of their favorite Ramadan show through Starz Play Arabia, Sheikh revealed.

The company also recently signed a partnership with NBC Universal, which owns the Fast and the Furious movie series.