Google’s YouTube is now adorning the Invision IPTV service offered by Saudi Telecom Company (STC) - alongside the premium pay-TV and free-to-air channels, video on demand (VOD) content, call services and internet access already provided.

Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, Google country manager, Saudi Arabia, said that the new YouTube Invision service will create “a quality leap as a first of its kind service” in the Kingdom. It will, he explained, enable Invision customers to search at speed through all the available video files on the YouTube library while simultaneously watching and downloading other video files – be they VOD films or ‘live’ television programmes.

"More than 100 million Arabs log on to the YouTube network every day, and about 11 million users go online at an average of 136 minutes per day; representing 40% of the Kingdom's population,” said Arimr Kesisoqlu, Director of Google Middle East and North Africa. “These users can now enjoy YouTube's visual content via new technologies.

"We intend to deepen our relations with STC STCand believe that, together, we can make a difference in the Kingdom in a way that customers can feel [a] change and see the value of the exclusive features introduced to them," he added.

Jameel bin Abdullah Al Molhem, chief executive officer of STC in Saudi Arabia explained that the ‘first of its kind’ partnership with Google is the latest move in the operator’s continued plan to enrich the digital content on the Invision IPTV service, which was originally launched during Ramadan 2010.

The telecommunications operator currently carries 90% of Saudi Arabia’s total internet traffic, according to Mr Al Molhelm, who added that 50,000 homes in the Saudi Arabian cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Jubail and Al Ahsa are now connected to the internet via STC’s fibre optic cable.

This number will double by the end of 2011, when the fibre to the home network upgrade will provide users with connection speeds of between 100-200 Mbit/s - eventually reaching 1Gbit/s – according to STC.

Rebecca Hawkes | 29-06-2011