x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

OSN to launch HD Arabic-language channel

OSN's new channel Yahala! HD will air the network's first original show in Arabic.

David Butorac, CEO of Orbit Showtime Network. OSN's new channel Yahala! HD will air the network's first original show in Arabic.. (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)
David Butorac, CEO of Orbit Showtime Network. OSN's new channel Yahala! HD will air the network's first original show in Arabic.. (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)

The TV broadcaster OSN plans to launch an additional entertainment channel on October 10, which will air the network's first original show in Arabic.

The Arabic-language station OSN Yahala! HD will feature entertainment, drama and films, and be broadcast across the Middle East and in parts of Africa.

"The focus of the channel is to provide entertainment of both genre and target that is not readily available," said David Butorac, the chief executive of OSN.

Yahala!, which means 'welcome' in English, will be broadcast in high-definition alongside OSN's 14 other Arabic stations. The network has a total of 90 channels.

It will feature a new sitcom called Hindistani, which is the first original Arabic-language production made by the pay-TV network.

The 38-part series was commissioned and co-produced by OSN, which is based in Dubai.

"There's a strong comedy focus to the channel," said Mr Butorac. "The first original production that we have invested in, called Hindistani, is an Arabic sitcom but with a fairly strong music and dance theme."

Currently, all of the shows aired by OSN in Arabic - and most in English - are bought in from other media companies.

Mr Butorac said OSN plans to boost the amount of original content it produces.

"We certainly see the future of original production content continuing to grow," he said. "We have to make certain that we make all of our channels relevant for our target audiences."

OSN also announced a new brand identity under the slogan 'Just Imagine'.

The company was formed following a merger of the Orbit and Showtime Arabia networks in 2009.

It is owned and operated by Panther Media Group (PMG), which is registered in the Dubai International Financial Centre. PMG is jointly owned by Kuwait's KIPCO and Orbit Group.

 

bflanagan@thenational.ae