Middle East pay TV's titanic struggle

    Could Showtime-Orbit prove the tip of the iceberg for MENA pay TV?
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    The merger of Showtime-Orbit ranks as arguably the biggest development (other than that small matter otherwise known as the global recession) to impact the Middle East broadcast industry in 2009.

    Trumpeted by the partners as 'the merger that had to happen' to assure the struggling pay TV industry of some certainty moving forward, the agreement places Showtime's existing management firmly in the hotseat in terms of steering the company successfully through the current economic downturn.

    Yet the company's future is by no means guaranteed. Its one great trump card - the English Premier League football TV rights - have been stolen away by Abu Dhabi Media Company, while rampant piracy, limited advertising revenues and consumer apathy could conspire to nullify any commercial advantages provided by the merger.

    Add to that, persistent rumours of a third and fourth major pay TV provider eyeing Middle East expansion suggests change in the MENA pay TV market has only just begun.

    So, what of the Showtime-Orbit alliance? What can the broadcaster do to ensure its long-term economic viability? What technologies could it (and should it) profitably introduce? What of these unnamed organisations planning to establish pay TV operations in the region?

    Have your say now! 

    (* DPme.com will not stand accused of scurrilous industry rumour mongering - but don't let that stop you!).

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