Ondas Media wins Saudi support

Chris Forrester


Would-be European satellite radio broadcaster Ondas Media has signed up Rotana Audio & Video to a “strategic partnership”. While cash terms were not revealed, the deal will allow Ondas to broadcast music, concerts, interviews and “related content” to satellite radio listeners across Europe. Rotana, which has a number of music and movie TV channels already on air, is owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

The agreement between Ondas and Rotana also covers “the development of tailored radio channels and their possible monetization before Ondas’ full service launch in 2012”. In other words Ondas is saying that it expects some services to be on air prior to 2012. “As part of the partnership agreement, we will transmit Rotana content on one of our ‘free to air’ channels,” confirms Dave Krueger, CEO of Ondas Media. “In addition, we will develop several ‘specialized’ advertising-free channels with mutually agreed formats and programming line-ups which will be exclusive to Ondas.”

“We are focused on bringing exclusive, unique and superior content to consumers through our pan-European satellite radio offering,” explains Krueger. “Our research has shown consumers are prepared to subscribe to this type of highly-targeted programming as it is simply not available elsewhere. Around 4% of our potential European consumer base of over 500 million people have already shown a strong interest in Arabic programming, rising to between 15% and 20% in countries such as France, the UK and Spain, with regions such as Paris, London, Marseille and Southern Spain leading the way. This key deal - which follows other content agreements - will meet the needs of a significant part of our addressable market.”

“Our partnership with ONDAS Media underlines our long-term vision for the availability, distribution and monetization of digital media on a global scale,” confirms Firas Al-Khashman, GM/Emerging Business at Rotana Audio & Video. “This alliance offers us a unique platform to reach European consumers through Ondas Media’s satellite radios installed in vehicles across the continent, over the internet and also through hand-held devices, giving consumers access to our content 24 hours a day, regardless of their location.”