OSN claims 34% subscriber increase in 2011

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 27-11-2011

Pan-Arab pay-TV platform OSN expects to grow its subscriber base by 34% this year, after embarking on an anti-piracy campaign in December 2010.
The campaign saw the wholesale replacement of subscribers' set top boxes (STB) with improved conditional access technology and the 'switching off' of OSN signals to the illegal 'Dreambox' STBs so prevalent across the Middle East and North Africa.
As a result, new subscriptions have risen, and there has also been a reduction in the cancellation of existing contracts. According to OSN's chief executive, David Butorac, churn rates have halved in the past 12 months.
As a private company, OSN does not release its subscriber numbers. However, a recent report from Informa Telecoms & Media estimates the pay-TV platform has 552,000 subscribers – a figure forecast by the analysts to grow to 995,000 in the next five years.
The operator has also increased its commitment to original Arabic content through the year, along with sustained marketing activity; moves which it believes have also led to more paying customers.
Indeed, OSN's lavish comedy musical Hindustani, which is the flagship show on its new Yahala! HD channel, recently won best Arabic production at the Broadcast Middle East awards. The glitzy drama, part of a new initiative to provide 300 hours of OSN produced programming in its first year, was shot in Mumbai with Saudi actors.
Next year OSN will also launch a 'catch-up' television service delivered to multiple connected devices via broadband internet.
The new over the top (OTT) video platform, which will provide subscribers in the Middle East and North Africa with both live content and video-on-demand, is to be developed and deployed by Prague-based KIT digital – as reported by Rapid TV News on 23 November.