Digital Broadcast power list: 8-7

    A couple of pay TV pioneers snare seventh and eighth spot.
    Marc-Antoine d'Halluin, CEO, Orbit Showtime.
    Marc-Antoine d'Halluin, CEO, Orbit Showtime.

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    Content creators, advertising chiefs and internet pioneers take their place alongside broadcast technology innovators in the inaugural Digital Broadcast power list. The initial inductees will appear on these pages during the coming weeks.

    The list is based on the opinions of our distinguished editorial team and is entirely subjective.
    While we believe this is THE definitive list of regional industry powerbrokers, undoubtedly there will be those with different opinions. If you are one of these readers, we invite you to leave your feedback at the bottom of the page.

    8. Marc-Antoine d’Halluin
    CEO, Orbit Showtime

    The merger of Orbit and Showtime was hailed as a victory for commonsense. Talks regarding consolidation in the pay TV market had appeared – to outsiders – to be stuck in the ‘inevitable’ position for so long, it was fair to think they had stalled altogether.

    While Orbit Showtime will no doubt suffer some separation anxiety as the English Premier League rights transfer to Abu Dhabi TV later this year, CEO Marc-Antoine d’Halluin has been working hard to ensure that existing subscribers remain committed to the service.

    “The merger has ensured that our reliance on one content genre has decreased. We now offer a much more complete package,” d’Halluin told Digital Broadcast shortly after the deal was struck.

    The enigmatic Frenchman has pieced together an extensive batch of pay TV rights deals with the major Hollywood studios and the US networks that will go some way to filling the void left by the departure of the EPL.

    7. Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel
    Owner, ART

    Given ART’s recent sale of sports content some may be surprised to see Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel feature so highly on the list. ART may have sold off some of its programming assets but it maintains something more valuable – the largest pay TV subscriber base in the region.

    The loss of its sports rights to Al Jazeera is unlikely to affect its subscriber base negatively. Subscribers to rival pay TV platforms will also have to pay extra for Al Jazeera Sports so churn is likely to be minimal.

    Meanwhile, in a hugely important development for the industry, ART is spearheading the development of the open platform set top box.

    This could permit the region’s pay TV operators – including any possible pay TV channels from ADMC and Rotana – to use the same STB, meaning viewers can cherry pick the content they want.

    This bold move could cement a commercially successful future for the pay TV industry and create an environment no longer conducive to piracy.
     

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