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OSN offers box to gain viewing data

The satellite-TV network OSN has launched a set-top box that can be used to gather information about viewing habits.

The satellite-TV network OSN has launched a set-top box that can be used to gather information about viewing habits.

The Dubai-based broadcaster yesterday unveiled its OSN Plus HD receiver for satellite customers, which promises "unlimited content" through a separate internet connection.

It connects to the Web via a customer's home-broadband line, allowing OSN to offer more services than previously available via satellite. It plans to offer different services through the box, such as Web-based applications, and will also be able to gather information on viewing habits.

"In the future, it could allow us to set up 'people-meters', so we can collect information on viewing statistics," said Mark Billinge, the vice president of broadcast operations and technology at OSN.

"I imagine [this will launch] some time in 2013".

The television industry is forecast to be worth more than US$2.5 billion (Dh9.18bn) this year, of which the majority is from advertising.

There is scant information on regional viewing habits. Of all the countries in the Arabian Gulf, only the UAE has a dedicated audience-measurement system.

The people meters service, called tview, launched earlier this year.

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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