Speculation has been rife in recent weeks regarding a potential merger between two of the Middle East's biggest pay TV service providers, Orbit and Showtime, amid the financial meltdown that continues to wreak havoc in the operators' core GCC markets.
Despite official denials, escalating costs for exclusive rights deals to tier-one content, such as US films and network series, as well as sports programming such as the English Premier League, is leading many to speculate that consolidation in the pay TV market will happen sooner, rather than later.
Is the sector entering a watershed period in its short and tumultuous history? Can the Middle East really sustain more than two pay TV network providers? If Orbit and Showtime did merge, what impact would it have on the likes of ART?
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