Dubai-based pay-TV and streamer OSN launched its rebranded OSN+ streaming work successful March 2022 — and past mislaid immoderate momentum erstwhile Disney+, nan pursuing June, pulled retired its premium contented and started a standalone level successful nan Middle East.
However, OSN remains a starring small-screen outlet for premier Hollywood scripted fare successful 22 territories crossed nan Middle East and North Africa. In March 2023, they extended their narration pinch Warner Bros. Discovery, forging a caller multi-year licensing woody that makes them nan exclusive location for HBO contented specified arsenic “Succession” successful nan region. And, they’ve retained exclusive authorities to Paramount+ shows, positive a slate of Sky Studios and Peacock Originals produced by NBC Universal — among different Hollywood deals firmly successful spot — arsenic good arsenic precocious expanding their exclusive business pinch ITV Studios successful nan U.K.
OSN has has besides been producing high-end Arabic originals, specified arsenic nan Arabic adjustment of NBCUniversal’s deed ineligible play “Suits,” though they are little progressive connected this beforehand than its main competitors.
Roughly a twelvemonth aft opening to carnivore nan brunt of nan disruption caused by nan Disney+ motorboat successful nan Middle East, OSN CEO Joe Kawkabani said to Variety astir really he’s bolstering different Hollywood ties while navigating nan region’s progressively crowded premium TV field.
How person things been going complete nan past twelvemonth successful position of subscribers?
We’ve seen much and much subscribers travel to nan platform. According to galore studies, we are 1 of nan apical 3 services successful nan region successful position of apical of mind, consciousness and propensity to buy. And we’ve seen awesome engagement. I deliberation successful nan past 12 months, our engagement measured by hours viewed is up by 40%. And we’re still trending upwards. We’re not wherever we want to beryllium yet; but I deliberation each trends, each numbers, are pointing successful nan correct direction.
Can you springiness maine a fig for your streaming subs?
I americium not allowed to disclose that information. But what I tin show you is that OSN arsenic a business wide is particularly driven by nan maturation successful streaming successful summation to what we person connected nan linear side. Combined, we are now astatine nan highest number of subscribers we’ve ever had. I deliberation that’s a bully parameter of really patient nan business is correct now, astatine slightest successful position of subscribers and group buying our services.
What’s nan equilibrium successful position of relevance betwixt OSN’s pay-TV and streaming sides?
We person 2 products efficaciously connected nan marketplace correct now. We person OSN+, which is simply a axenic streaming work arsenic you would cognize it. And that’s nan merchandise we’ve discussed. Bu,t we besides rebranded precocious our [linear] aerial business arsenic OSN TV and we’ve launched a caller box. Now, customers don’t request a outer and cables to bask our content. They tin each bask it connected nan box, which they plug into nan internet. In position of relevance, that portion of nan business, nan OSN TV part, is still applicable for us. Whether it is nan merchandise we waste straight via our boxes aliases whether it is done done partners for illustration nan telcos, it is still applicable from a gross perspective. However, having said that, nan maturation that we are seeing successful subscribers is mostly connected nan streaming side.
In position of marque identity, OSN has ever been associated pinch Hollywood. Is this starting to alteration aft losing premium Disney content?
OSN is chiefly known for its awesome Western contented and it still is. Historically, that’s nan genesis of nan institution itself. And we find ourselves correct now, two-and-a-half decades later, still having a very beardown narration pinch nan Hollywood studios. That’s been a bully advantage that we use from and we’ve preserved this position. Yes, it’s unfortunate that we did suffer nan Disney exclusivity. We still transportation Disney channels connected OSN. But you’re right, Disney launched its ain streaming work [in nan Middle East]. They decided they didn’t want to activity pinch partners and wanted to spell world and besides do that present successful nan B2C market. But I’m gladsome to study that that’s not nan cognition that each studios have. Good for us, and bully for our subscribers arsenic good because nan past point you want is simply a plethora of different 10 streaming services coming up [in nan Middle East] offering Hollywood content. The customer doesn’t want that, and nan studios are not going to beryllium capable to each compete. So OSN still has a awesome worth proposition sitting successful nan mediate and saying: “We aggregate, we create and we present; we localize and past we service nan assemblage here.” And a testament to that is our expertise to not only widen but grow our narration pinch Warner Brothers Discovery, evidently besides connected nan HBO side, which is among nan astir sought retired content. Their bid do fantastically good present successful nan region. We’ve besides announced an extended and expanded woody pinch NBCUniversal, which besides has Sky and Peacock. And we did nan aforesaid pinch MGM, and truthful on. We’ve managed, if you will, to solidify our position arsenic nan level for premium Western contented successful nan region.
What are nan apical Hollywood shows connected OSN?
Over nan past year, I deliberation nan operation of “Game of Thrones” and “House of nan Dragon” has done very well. People continuously rewatch these shows and we person a batch of interaction. And if I look astatine this twelvemonth successful particular, “The Last of Us” was nan biggest show we’ve had astatine nan opening of 2023. And now much recently, nan past play of “Succession” has been a large hit.
This interview has been edited and condensed.