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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

In landmark tie-up OSN to offer Netflix content from second quarter

Streaming service signing deals with erstwhile rivals to expand market penetration 

OSN subscribers will be able to access original Netflix content including Stranger Things 2. Courtesy Netflix
OSN subscribers will be able to access original Netflix content including Stranger Things 2. Courtesy Netflix

OSN, the Middle East’s largest pay TV provider, will begin offering Netflix content via its subscription platform next quarter, the latest traditional media company to include the service in an attempt to head off competition from the popular streaming site.

The deal follows similar partnerships arrangements between Netflix and cable-internet service providers in the US and elsewhere, as the streaming site looks to increase revenues and the visibility of its services via a wider range of channels.

The media company's deal with OSN – its first with a Middle Eastern pay TV provider – will enable OSN customers to access Netflix’s content library – including original content such as The Crown, Stranger Things, Bright and Black Mirror - via a new smartbox to be launched towards the end of the second quarter, the broadcaster said in a statement on Sunday.

OSN customers will have the option of paying their Netflix subscriptions through their OSN bills.

“With the addition of Netflix, OSN continues to ensure entertainment lovers in the region have more choice and easy access to a stellar line-up of unique content via one interface,” said OSN’s chief commercial officer Neil Martin.

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Over the past year Netflix entered into various partnerships with cable providers – who it competed against in previous years – as it seeks to offer its services across a wider range of channels.

Such arrangements are also attractive for traditional media companies, which are keen to draw Netflix subscribers to their platforms.

“These partnerships make it easier for consumers to sign up, enjoy and pay for Netflix, while our service allows our partners to deepen their relationships with these subscribers,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in a letter to shareholders in January.

In June Netflix said it was partnering with French service provider Altice. Under the new alliance the streaming service is included in a package alongside internet and TV services in France and three other markets. The tie up was followed by a similar agreement with Deutsche Telekom in November that covers Germany and two other markets.

The signing of such deals with non-US content providers comes as Netflix’s international revenues stand poised to overtake its income from its home market.

The company’s international streaming revenue grew 64 per cent year on year to $1.6bn last quarter, compared with a 16 per cent growth in US revenues. International revenues accounted for 49 per cent of total streaming revenue last quarter, compared with 40 per cent a year previous.

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