Emad Morcos, senior vice president of business development and digital at OSN, talks about the network’s newest foray into the world of online viewership.
By Sadad Talhouni
According to research group Ovum, OSN is expected to roughly double its subscriber base to 2 million by the end of 2019. Part of this growth will be achieved through OSN’s online strategy. Go by OSN, launched in May, is the Dubai-based pay-TV network’s latest online TV Netflix-style streaming service. Compatible with PCs, Macs, tablets, and smartphones, the service gives access to OSN’s vast content library for a monthly $10 subscription.
Why did you decide to launch Go by OSN?
More people use multiple devices to consume content, and we’ve taken the viewer’s choice for online content to the next level through this service. Go by OSN is part of our extensive digital strategy following the successful launch of OSN Play.
How is Go by OSN different from other services available in the market?
Go by OSN is differentiated primarily by its premium content offering, with the largest roster compared to any other service. Our portfolio for Go will continue to be updated, adding more hours of content each month. OSN has the advantage of being associated with multiple global studios, which enables Go to play host to the most critically-acclaimed and diversified Western and Arabic content. The interface of Go has been designed to reflect OSN’s own digital guidelines, making it easy for users to navigate and watch content, at the touch of a button.
Who are you targeting this service at, and how will this new product impact OSN’s existing Direct to Home business?
Go by OSN is targeted at younger audiences who are on the go. This demographic prefers to watch content on the move using tablets, laptops, and smartphones and doesn’t necessarily want to commit to daily or weekly TV viewing. Go by OSN offers a contract-free gateway to content where you can instantly access premium Hollywood movies, box-set TV series and Arabic content at the touch of a button. Go will not impact our DTH business at all—in fact, it expands our reach to even wider segments.
Is the region ready for a service like this? What about MENA countries with low Internet penetration rates?
The region is absolutely ready for this product. Broadband penetration is on the rise and many regional countries have launched initiatives to boost fixed broadband. In the UAE alone, broadband penetration is at approximately 77 percent. In contrast to fixed broadband, mobile broadband is rapidly increasing too. This cord-cutting trend is especially prevalent in countries like Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, which are witnessing faster mobile broadband growth than fixed broadband growth. Coupled with the increased ease of access to Internet is the adoption of smartphones athe adoption of smartphones and tablets (by kerri). Mobile penetration in the greater MENA region is 18 percent. Key markets like the UAE, Saudi, Egypt, and Morocco, have a significantly higher penetration; and ownership of tablets is growing at the same rate as markets around the world.