Fox Introduces TV Streaming Service With Saudi Media Group
Fox Networks has signed a deal with a Saudi media group to introduce a brand new TV streaming service in North Africa and the Middle East.
The extension of 21st Century Fox (FOX) released a statement saying that it was joining forces with the region's biggest broadcaster, MBC, to offer Fox Plus to viewers.
Fox's streaming service is already available in Southeastern Asia and some parts of Latin America. It will now be made available in 24 countries on MBC's Shahid Plus platform.
At a fee of $4.99, a month subscribers will have access to six categories of English-language content from Fox Plus, including kids TV, drama and the National Geographic channel, as well as Arabic shows from Shahid Plus.
Fox's deal follows a break in relations between Saudi Arabia and international media companies after Saudi agents murdered a Washington Post journalist in Istanbul, Turkey.
Many investors and companies are in fact, still refraining from doing business with Saudi Arabia because of the lingering uncertainty over who was responsible for the murder.
According to sources close to the matter, the Saudi government took over MBC earlier this year after a crackdown on corruption saw the arrest of hundreds of people in business including the MBC Chairman, Waleed Al Ibrahim.
Al Ibrahim was subsequently released and still holds a 40% stake and his title as chairman.
Fox Networks declined to comment on the Saudi government's connection to MBC.
The collaboration will allow MBC to add thousands of hours of streaming content to its platform.
The General manager at Fox Networks Group, Sanjay Raina, said improved broadband capabilities in the region have contributed to the growth of streaming services, but payment systems are still a challenge. He added that credit card use in some parts was almost non-existent.
The strategic business move by Fox comes a year after it added three new TV channels to its existing lineup, including the very first Fox-branded channel to be broadcast in Arabic.
Raina said that linear television platforms would need to reinvent themselves because today’s young consumers are digitally advanced and want to enjoy their viewing on multiple mobile devices.
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