Officials at Showtime and Orbit have stated that no decisions have been made on potential lay-offs at either company, following their recent merger.
“I’m categorically stating that we have not discussed this subject yet,” stated Ali Ajouz, VP marketing sales and distribution, Orbit.
“We will be setting up integration committees in the next couple of weeks. They will set up sub-committees and we will evaluate where we can synergise without compromising the business,” he revealed.
“It is unfair to tell you what will happen. All I know is that we are mandated by our shareholders not to compromise the business, to focus on the customer, make the merger as smooth as possible and build the business in this market.”
Ajouz added that Orbit and Showtime’s broadcast centres in Bahrain and Dubai will remain fully operational and current staff will be needed to maintain them.
“This is a very unique merger, where two centres are operational in two different countries. Both centres will be operational until such time as other decisions are made,” said Ajouz.
“Both broadcast centres are very big and require the staff it has to maintain them. We are looking at doubling the offerings we have right now. This clearly means that we will need our engineers.”
Although no lay-offs are on the cards yet, there was a suggestion that there might be some duplication of functions in which case restructuring would be a natural outcome.
“For now, it is business as usual. We have no plans to reduce our customer service or staff in our sales and distribution centres.”
Marc Antoine d’halluin, CEO of “NewCo”, as the merged company has been affectionately nicknamed, stated that lay-offs were not being discussed yet.
“It has been a delicate exercise to negotiate this merger. It will take us at least a year-and-a-half to properly integrate our platforms. The goal is to integrate from a content and technology perspective,” clarified Antoine.
"Staff lay-offs have not been discussed as yet.”
In the meantime, 24 hours after the merger was announced, subscribers to Showtime and Orbit have been treated to a selection of the best channels from each other's bouquet for a promotional period that ends in August.
Showtime viewers will now be able to watch Super Movies, America Plus and Super Comedy also while Orbit customers can view Showmovies 1, Showseries, E! Entertainment and Showcomedy.