Info MBC launches ‘catch up TV’ -
MBC launches ‘catch up TV’
Dubai-based MBC (HQ, left) has been offering its top shows on the internet as a free-of-charge video download service. The idea was to use the Moslem holy month of Ramadan, when people’s normal lives are somewhat disrupted by fasting and then long family suppers which can play havoc with normal TV viewing.
Etisalat, which is providing the play-out technology, said MBC’s top nine programmes have been downloaded at a rate of about 80,000 a day, mostly from Saudi Arabia and the nearby Gulf states. MBC itself said the new service will now extend beyond Ramadan.
“It’s the first of its kind in the region,” said Ahmad Zahidah, new media business manager at MBC. “No other broadcaster offers a catch-up service or video on demand via the internet free of charge.”
Etisalat’s director of digital media services, Mohammed Al Mulla, told 7-Days that an even more comprehensive TV service is available to mobiles in the UAE to subscribers with 3G-enabled phones, through both Etisalat and rival operator du, since February last year in the form of live streaming. “Whatever is available from the channel on Arabsat or Nilesat is available on your handset,” Al Mulla explained.
Al Mulla said he is now inviting on-line interest from local English-language broadcasters. “I think it’s one of the solutions people are looking for,” he said. “Everyone wants their own TV. Whenever they have the time, they want to watch whatever they like. In let’s say four to six months, Etisalat will introduce a lot of these services.
“This technology is not limited to one network. It’s for anyone interested in having their content available on the net on demand. There is no limitation to the number of viewers because it’s a worldwide service.”