ADMC plans multiple deals to recoup EPL investment

Premier League broadcaster to court pay, FTA and new media partners.
ADMC plans to partner with regional broadcast rivals to maximise EPL revenues.
ADMC plans to partner with regional broadcast rivals to maximise EPL revenues.

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Abu Dhabi TV will partner with free-to-air and pay TV operators across the MENA region to ensure it generates maximum return on its English Premier League (EPL) investment, a senior executive at the company has revealed to DPme.com.

Earlier this month, the UAE broadcaster’s parent, Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), secured the MENA television rights to EPL games for three seasons starting 2010-11 for around US$300 million.

It plans to launch at least four new sports channels in the lead up to the programming launch, and is considering encrypting these channels to ensure broadcasts are restricted to the MENA region.

“Technically speaking, we are allowed to broadcast the games as we have won the rights,” clarified Karim Sarkis, executive director of the broadcast group at ADMC.

“However, there should be no overspill into Europe and Asia. This is the concern as we are a free-to-air operator. However, we are not tied to one platform. Our licensed territory is the MENA region and we have the rights to broadcast the EPL on several different platforms. This means we can work with different players on a variety of platforms.

“We can partner with pay TV operators, with terrestrial broadcasters and also with telecom providers who are launching IPTV and so on. We can also stream games coverage on our website. We have the time to explore several options in detail.”

Sarkis said ADMC was committed to providing unprecedented coverage of all EPL games, adding that bilingual commentary would prove a given for the majority of matches.

“From the production side, we have studios in the UAE and are now holding preliminary talks with partners in the UK to ensure we can provide the best-quality productions,” confirmed Sarkis.

“The fact that we are not tied to subscriptions or to advertising means we have the greatest opportunity to recover the money we paid for the rights,” he added.

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