MBC Group Picks Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird(tm) 7 Satellite to Support HDTV Roll-Out Across the Middle East and North Africa
Monday, October 31, 2011 1:39 PM
PARIS, October 31, 2011
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) and MBC Group announce the signature of a multiyear contract for capacity on Eutelsat's new ATLANTIC BIRD™ 7 satellite at 7 degrees West. The lease of a full transponder will enable MBC to expand its platform of channels addressing viewers in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly new HD content which the Group is preparing to launch in January 2012. The announcement was made at Digital TV Middle East, the broadcast and broadband conference taking place in Dubai from November 1 to 2.
The new contract cements a 20-year relationship between Eutelsat and MBC Group which began in 1991 with the launch of MBC1, the first pan-Arab free-to-air satellite station. Over the past 18 years, MBC has developed a network comprising ten TV channels, two radio stations and a production house to forge a leading media and broadcasting group in the Middle East, among other media platforms such as VOD (shahid.net), SMS and MMS services. The move into HDTV reflects the Group's commitment to delivering the latest technology and superior television content.
Launched on September 24, ATLANTIC BIRD™ 7 brings first-class resources to 7 degrees West, an established video neighbourhood delivering Arab and international channels into almost 30 million satellite homes. The satellite's significant Ku-band resources enable broadcasters to launch new Standard Digital and HD content. Its broad footprint expands reach of satellite TV homes located from the North African Atlantic coastline across to the Gulf States.
Commenting on the new contract, MBC Group's COO Sam Barnett said: "We are enthusiastic about this additional capacity on the ATLANTIC BIRD™ 7 satellite that will allow us to further expand in the future and meet the expectations of our loyal viewers across the MENA region."
Andrew Wallace, Eutelsat Chief Commercial Officer, added: "With MBC Group's selection of ATLANTIC BIRD™ 7 as their chosen platform to move into HDTV we are even more excited about the potential of our new satellite to partner broadcasters in the Middle East and North Africa. This is a great start for ATLANTIC BIRD™ 7 and we look forward to furthering our longstanding presence and strong partnerships across the region and playing our part in the ongoing roll-out of HDTV."
Eutelsat's ATLANTIC BIRD™ 7 satellite has replaced ATLANTIC BIRD™ 4A at 7 degrees West. The transfer of 400 TV channels onto the new satellite took place on October 23.
About MBC Group
MBC Group is the first private free-to-air satellite broadcasting company in the Arab World. It was
launched in London in 1991 and later moved to its headquarters in Dubai in 2002. Over the past 20 years,
MBC Group has grown to become a well-established media group that enriches people’s lives through
information, interaction and entertainment. Based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, MBC Group
includes 10 television channels: MBC1 (general family entertainment), MBC2 and MBC MAX (24-hour
movies), MBC3 (children’s entertainment), MBC4 (entertainment for new Arab women), MBC Action
(action series and movies), MBC Persia (24-hour movie channel dubbed in Farsi) , Al Arabiya (the 24-
hour Arabic language news channel); Wanasah (24-hour Arabic music channel) and MBC Drama (24
hour Arabic drama on Paid TV) and two radio stations: MBC FM (Gulf music), and Panorama FM
(contemporary Arabic hit music); as well as O3 productions, a specialized documentary production unit.