Orbit agrees deal with BBC Worldwide for BBC Prime

CEO Zilo has expanded the Orbit satellite bouquet with a deal for BBC Prime. The entertainment channel extends Orbit’s Western programme choice as the company takes the fight to its main pay TV competitors.

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By  Will Strauss Published  September 21, 2000

Orbit Satellite Television and Radio Network has signed an agreement with BBC Worldwide for the satellite distribution throughout the Middle East and North Africa of BBC Prime, the soon to be renamed, international family entertainment channel.

BBC Prime was made available in the region on the Orbit platform from Thursday September 14, 2000, and Orbit will be the only pan-Arab satellite platform to distribute the channel in the Middle East.

Orbit viewers will be able to enjoy the various entertainment from the BBC, including comedy, drama, documentaries, wildlife series, music, children's programmes, talk shows, cooking and lifestyle programmes, in addition to The Learning Zone, an education service for children, students and adults.

Alexander B. Zilo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Orbit added, "BBC Prime brings an entirely new perspective to the entertainment proposition on Orbit. British entertainment programming has great appeal to our audience and BBC Prime complements our existing offer. Orbit continues to lead the field in broadcasting in the Arab world with the best in international programming, new and original Arabic entertainment channels and innovative customer services."

Unprecedented Demand

Wayne Dunsford, Director of Channels EMEIA, BBC Worldwide said, "There has been unprecedented demand for BBC Prime from potential subscribers across the Middle East and North Africa. Launching BBC Prime on the Orbit platform opens up this important new market for the channel and, as Orbit is the sole pan-Arab DTH platform we will sign in the territory, this is a great opportunity for us both."

BBC Prime reaches nearly 10m subscribers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Celebrating its 5th birthday this year, the channel offers such comedy delights as Wallace and Gromit, the Vicar of Dibley and The Brittas Empire.

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