Orbit Showtime Network (OSN), the Dubai subscription TV service, plans to invest more than $1bn in creating and buying new content as it looks to grow its subscriber base, its CEO said.
The network, which operates across 24 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, has seen its subscriber base increase threefold since the beginning of the year, David Butorac said.“Over the coming years OSN will invest over $1bn in acquiring content for the TV screens of this region,” he said during a press event on Tuesday.
“It’s an investment in bringing international content, creating content and commissioning… it’s a sum of all that. We will continue to increase our expenditure… and the focus on content is paramount for us to get new subscribers.”
The network, which was formed through a merger between Showtime Arabia and Orbit in 2009, said it expected to see a 30 percent rise in subscribers across the year. The biggest spike in growth is coming from the Gulf and Egyptian markets, Butorac said.
“In the last 12 months we have increased our sales about three-fold on the previous years so we are seeing the fastest growth in pay TV in this region that has been seen,” said Butorac.
“This year, our subscriber base in one year alone will grow by 30 percent.”
OSN, which is owned by Kuwait's KIPCO and Mawarid Holding, on Tuesday announced the launch of an Arabic entertainment channel. OSN Yahala! will feature Arabic television series, including Hareem Al Sultan and Sola, alongside homegrown productions.
The network this year launched Hindistani, a Glee-inspired musical comedy series shot in India that tells the story of an Arab shop owner in Riyadh.
OSN said it planned to air 300 hours of its own shows during the first year of screening.