Arab Digital Distribution (ADD) is introducing two pay- TV channel packages for south Indian viewers living in the Middle East, beginning with Du in the UAE and Qtel's Mosaic platform in Qatar.
It is hoped the addition of Pehla Spice and Pehla Spice Plus will not only entertain regional audiences but also reduce content piracy. The broadcast distributor said it expects the launch to result in "a substantial decrease in content infringements."
In a statement, ADD said: "We are expecting at least 200,000 new viewers in the first phase of the launch. Since these channels were not available in the Middle East, a large number of South Indian expats were resorting to unauthorised services from India."
The Pehla Spice packages offer a mix of entertainment, infotainment and news in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada on the four regional channels Sun TV, Surya TV, Gemini TV and Udaya TV.
Majed Sahelli, managing director, Pehla Media & Entertainment, ADD said: "We are targeting the South Indian diaspora which makes the largest chunk of expat South Asian community across the Middle East. The nominally priced regional packages provide customers with an option of choosing exclusive packages that better suits their content requirements."
The three bouquets currently offered by ADD reach almost one million viewers across the Middle East and North Africa, according to the company. The 18 channels on Pehla Spice will be available to UAE consumers for AED 45, while the 27 channel Pehla Spice Plus bouquet will set subscribers back AED 110.
Like rival regional pay-TV platform Orbit Showtime Network (OSN), ADD has initiated an anti-piracy campaign in recent months, employing secure encryption technology and replacing subscribers' set top boxes with new MPEG 4 decoders.