OSN and AFAC announce winners of Writers Room, elevating Arab storytelling

OSN and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) recently disclosed the recipients of the ‘Writers’ Room’ mentorship programme, which aims to cultivate compelling narratives within the Arab region. The initiative received an impressive 276 submissions during its open call, indicating substantial interest and engagement.The esteemed jury, comprising Writer Yam Machahdi, Director Hicham Lasri, Director Amin Dora, and Director Mariam Abou Ouf, undertook the challenging task of evaluating the entries to identify the most promising projects. From this competitive pool, six exceptional projects and their creators emerged victorious. The winning entries encompass a diverse range of themes and voices:• The Day of Your Meeting by Rida Benazzouza• The Art of Surviving by Tamer Mohammad Abdulhamid and Noha Hassan Hussien• Polaroid by Basant Ghonimy• Men Home La Hon (Plan B) by Marie-Louise Elia, Julien Kobersy, and Jean-Claude Boulos• Dyouf by Saleh Saadi• How to find love in 10 steps (Guide for Single Men) by Mostafa Youssef and Fatma Abed.The Writers Room program, initiated last year, aims to nurture these projects until they develop into fully-fledged limited series. This entails providing mentorship support, follow-up, and input from specialists and experts throughout the development process. The program seeks to establish a framework for series-writing in the region utilizing the writers' room method, fostering peer-to-peer learning, and encouraging participation in the creative process.Rolla Karam, Senior Vice President of Content Acquisition & Arabic Channels at OSN, emphasized the company's commitment to supporting local storytelling and nurturing emerging writers. Rima Mismar, Executive Director of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, highlighted the initiative's goal of fostering a nurturing environment for emerging talents and bridging gaps in series development.The winning projects will undergo further development and potential distribution, with three residencies planned for February, May, and July 2024. These residencies will be led by Writers’ Room mentors Bassem Breche and Maha El Wazir. Additionally, winners will benefit from OSN’s right to a first look at their projects and the possibility of further development beyond the residency program.

Dubai’s OSN to merge OSN+ with streaming app Anghami

Dubai-based broadcaster OSN is to merge its streaming platform OSN+ with streaming app Anghami after signing a conditional binding agreement. Dubai-based OSN, a subsidiary of Kuwait-listed KIPCO, will inject up to $50 million into Abu Dhabi-based Anghami for a majority stake in the app. The transaction is subject to approvals and is expected to be finalised in early 2024, a Boursa Kuwait filing from KIPCO said Tuesday. The new entity will have more than 120 million registered users, 2.5 million paying subscribers and $100 million in revenue, the companies said in a joint statement. Abu Dhabi-based Anghami received $5 million in investment from Saudi Arabia’s SRMG Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tadawul-listed Saudi Research and Media Group SJSC, in August.Anghami has a number of regional investors including Middle East Venture Partners, Mobily Ventures Holding WLL, with Shuaa Asset Management holding the largest share at 15.55% according to Refinitiv data.

OSN expands partnership with ITV Studios

Dubai: OSN, the leading entertainment network in the Middle East is delighted to announce the expansion of its existing deal with ITV Studios, the production and distribution arm of ITV PLC – the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster. This expanded partnership will bring an extensive line-up of captivating scripted and non-scripted programming exclusively to OSN+ and OSN TV starting this month.Under the enhanced agreement, OSN subscribers will have access to over 150 hours of exceptional content, including highly acclaimed series and award-winning productions. Audiences can look forward to enjoying all six seasons of the 9-time Emmy Award-winning comedy series, Schitt's Creek as well as other highly anticipated shows like Bump and The Suspect. As part of this exciting collaboration, OSN will also include the popular reality show, The Voice US, to its programming line-up.Commenting on the expanded partnership, Rolla Karam, SVP, Content Acquisition & Arabic Channels at OSN, added, "This expanded deal showcases our commitment to offering the best in entertainment to our viewers. We are excited to bring acclaimed series like Schitt's Creek and the latest season of the talent show, The Voice US, to our platform. We look forward to further strengthening our collaboration with ITV Studios and bringing more exceptional content to our viewers in the near future."Further enriching its entertainment offering, OSN will feature an array of captivating shows, including Vigil Season 1, the limited series Litvinenko, a selection of delightful cooking series such as John and Lisa's Weekend Kitchen, Gino's Italian Express, and Tom Kerridge Barbecues, and George Clark’s Flipping Fast, among many others.This expansion is just the beginning of a promising collaboration between OSN and ITV Studios. Looking ahead to 2024, OSN is excited to announce plans to license more incredible content from ITV Studios, promising even more engaging and diverse programming options for its viewers.The deal was brokered on behalf of ITV Studios Global Partnerships by Robbie Burroughs, Sales Director, EMEA.OSN+ can be accessed through all your favourite devices, including major TV platforms,

OSN and Afac launch mentorship programme for Arab TV series

Dubai: OSN, the leading entertainment network in the Middle East, has teamed up with The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Afac) to launch a ground-breaking mentorship programme called The Writers' Room. The initiative is aimed at fostering creativity and developing new, compelling TV series from the Arab region.The mentorship programme provides a platform for series creators to pitch their projects to OSN for potential development and distribution on their platform. The initiative is designed to support the development of a fully-fledged limited series, providing guidance from experts during and between residencies.The programme's aim is to nurture a culture of series writing in the region that is anchored in the Writers' Room method, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and participation in the creative process.“At OSN, we believe in the power of local storytelling and the incredible talent that exists within the Arab region and are excited to join hands with Afac to launch this initiative. This programme represents our commitment to nurturing emerging writers and investing in compelling narratives that resonate with our diverse audience. Together, we aim to unlock the untapped potential of Arab storytellers and create a platform for their voices to be heard," said Joe Kawkabani, chief executive of OSN.Successful applicants will also have access to weekly online working sessions, one-on-one mentorship, and support from experts in relevant fields. Final feedback on their fully written episodes will be provided by industry professionals, and their projects will have a first look by the commissioning team at OSN.“The initiative marks a significant step in supporting the development of Arab series creators. Through this programme, we aim to provide a nurturing environment for emerging talents, bridge gaps in series development, and foster a community of storytellers,” said Afac’s executive director Rima Mismar.The programme is open to Arab writers living in the region with prior writing experience, preferably in series writing, and who submit a project as part of their application.Applications can be made through the Afac portal until July 7. The Writers' Room mentorship programme represents a significant opportunity for Arab writers to showcase their talents and develop their series projects.

OSN expands multi-year deal with Warner Bros. Discovery for MENA

OSN, the regional entertainment company for premium content, announced that it has extended and expanded its partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery with multiple components, including an exclusive licensing agreement with HBO, cementing OSN as the only home for HBO programming across the MENA region.The multi-year licensing deal extends OSN’s rights to broadcast and stream content from HBO exclusively on OSNtv and OSN+, strengthening its market leading position with its unbeatable range of programming and best-in-class entertainment. As part of the deal, OSN will continue to release HBO series in the MENA region at the same time as US premieres and secures its rights for new seasons of ongoing series for the duration of the term.“OSN is, and will continue to be the only place for HBO content in the region and we are excited to expand on this long-term partnership with the studio and Warner Bros Discovery.” said Joe Kawkabani, CEO at OSN. “On the back of successes such as House of the Dragon and The Last of Us, alongside a range of other exclusive and premium series, it is clear that HBO is a leader in first-class experiences, and we look forward to delivering these and other content pieces that have secured OSN as a leading choice of platform in the region.”    The partnership also includes the extension of the distribution of Discovery Channels: Discovery, TLC, ID and Discovery Science and signifies renewed ties with Warner Bros Studios, giving OSN access to recent hits such as The Batman, Dune, The Matrix Resurrections, The Suicide Squad and more. In addition to OSN Showcase, its existing channel for brand new HBO content, OSNtv will launch a new channel dedicated to classic HBO series, including The Wire, The Sopranos and Sex And The City, showcasing the full breadth of library that the studio has to offer. Furthermore, the channels will carry the much-loved American sitcom, FRIENDS and Big Bang Theory, in addition to CNN International. In 2024, OSN will expand its kids offering with the addition of Cartoon Network channels and programming across its platforms.Jamie Cooke, GM CEE, Middle East & Turkey of Warner Bros. Discovery, said: “We’re excited to expand our partnership with our highly valued partner OSN. As Warner Bros. Discovery, we have a wide variety of content to offer and we’re delighted that we can now offer OSN’s viewers the possibility to enjoy even more of their favourite shows. No matter if it’s the newest season of Succession, their favourite episode of FRIENDS, the hit movie Dune or the newest season of Gold Rush, there is something for everyone to watch, whenever they want.”

OSN joins anti-piracy coalition ACE

OSN, a major Dubai-based entertainment company servicing the Middle East and North Africa, has announced its decision to join the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the world’s leading anti-piracy coalition.ACE currently has a total of 52 members.“In line with our commitment to defeat content piracy, we are proud to announce that our company has joined ACE to face this global challenge that every broadcaster, TV operator, content creator, distributor and artist suffers from,” said OSN Group CEO Joe Kawkabani.“At OSN, we believe in the value of creative content and the hard work of the talented individuals who produce it. We also recognize the growing threat of piracy, which not only hurts the bottom line of our industry, but also undermines the efforts of artists and creators in the MENA region,” Kawkabani added.“By joining ACE, we are joining forces with like-minded organizations to combat this serious problem and protect the interests of our industry. We look forward to working with the other members of ACE to develop effective strategies and solutions to address the challenges of piracy and safeguard the future of creativity and entertainment.”Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Global Content Protection Chief of the Motion Picture Association and Head of ACE, applauded OSN for their commitment to fight piracy – in the MENA region and around the world. “Working with OSN—a key partner in MENA—and all ACE members, I’m confident we will make significant progress fighting these illegal piracy operations that pose serious threats to the creative economy.”

OSN goes fully dishless with enhanced OSNtv product and new channels

Dubai: OSN, the leading entertainment network in the region, today announced upgrades to its home product, OSNtv, as it evolves to a fully dishless offering with IP functionality, marking a significant milestone in the company’s journey to provide viewers with a top-of-the-line entertainment experience.Launching June 1st, the new OSNtv box brings together the best of both worlds to cater to families and individuals with exclusive and curated live TV channels, streaming from all your favorite apps and entertainment across a single android device. The product has now evolved to a ‘plug and play’ device, no installation and can be used by all connected households in the region with or without a dish. This launch represents an evolution of its all-in-one product capabilities with a pivot towards streaming tv with a linear environment. Accompanied with the product announcement is the addition of an array of new and reimagined channels.The OSNtv user experience also gets an upgrade, applicable to new and current subscribers. On top of existing capabilities, users can now take control of Live TV, offering instant rewind, pause and restart functionalities, as well as offering the most advanced TV guide in the region. OSN’s streaming platform OSN+ is integrated from the interface, and allows users accessibility to the content when they are on the go, or to use on additional devices at home. Additionally, the product has optimized the look and feel of the platform with an enhanced UX/UI to encourage discoverability and the introduction of new curated channels that bring unparalleled premium and exclusive content from Hollywood and beyond.Devrim Melek, SVP Strategy at OSN, said: “Upgrades to OSNtv now makes viewing content even easier, while bringing OSN into a new age of dishless entertainment and streaming-first capabilities. Together with new channel offerings, and an upgraded user experience, the company ensures that viewers have access to the very best in entertainment through an all-in-one product.”As part of the evolution, OSN has also launched three brand-new channels to aid in the enjoyment and discoverability of content. New channel offerings include the flagship channel, OSNtv One, which will offer a wide range of content catering to a broad demographic, while OSNtv Showcase Classics taps into the vast HBO library to offer fans a chance to indulge in timeless HBO favorites such as "Game of Thrones," "The Sopranos,” and "Sex and the City.” OSNtv Now, an integrated channel combining the best of OSN W and OSN Living, caters to a younger audience seeking fast-paced reality shows and enthralling dramas.For more information about the new channels and how to elevate your entertainment experience with OSNTV, visit Descriptions:OSNtv One – The channel offers a multi-genre platform with a wide range of content catering to a broad demographic. It features themed nights, creating a cinematic, epic, and comforting experience. Key shows include "Schitt's Creek," "Peacemaker," "The Voice," "From," "Superman and Lois," and more.OSNtv Showcase Classics – This channel taps into the HBO library, providing fans with timeless favorites and surprises. Viewers can explore a collection of iconic shows like "Game of Thrones," "The Sopranos," "True Blood," "Six Feet Under," "The Wire," "Sex and the City," and "Entourage." With pin protection during daytime hours, this channel will restrict access to content that may not be suitable for all viewers.OSNtv Now – An integrated channel combining the best of OSN W and OSN Living, it offers fast-paced reality shows and younger-skewing dramas. With a fresh, breezy, and fun vibe, OSNtv Now is the go-to destination for engaging content. Key titles include "Below Deck," "The Winchesters," and "Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin."OSNtv Movies Family (formerly OSNtv Family) – This rebranded channel builds on the popularity of criminal and legal procedural shows while incorporating new true crime and limited series. Families seeking safe and thrilling content will enjoy titles like the "Despicable Me" franchise, the "Harry Potter" franchise, and "Boss Baby."OSNtv Crime (formerly OSN Series Prime) – This channel offers high-end crime storytelling, featuring scripted and non-scripted content. With captivating plot twists and engaging narratives, it caters to an audience seeking immersive crime experiences. Key titles include "Black Snow," "Real Murders of Orange County," and "Fall River."