beIN Media Group Signs Major Multi-Year Pay-TV Deal With Warner Bros.

Nick Vivarelli
Variety

ROME — beIN Media Group, the ambitious Al Jazeera-owned broadcaster that bought Miramax in March, has signed a major multi-year deal with Warner Bros. International Television for the studios’ movies and TV series to air on beIN’s pay-TV platform in the Middle East and North Africa.

Neither the financial terms of the agreement nor its exact duration were disclosed. But the long-term deal, which goes into effect in 2019, could turn out to be a game changer for the pay-TV landscape in a region where competition has been heating up since last year, when beIN expanded aggressively from sports into movie channels.

Starting this year, beIN will get access to hit Warner Bros. TV series including ““Arrow,” “Gotham” and “Originals,” and will gain exclusive second window pay-TV rights to Warner Bros. theatrical features.

The first pay window on Warner Bros. movies in the region is currently owned by rival pay-TV operation Dubai-based OSN, which used to be the only paybox offering movies, original programming and general entertainment in the Middle East.

Warner Bros. is basically shifting its pay-TV partnership in the region from OSN to beIN, starting in 2019. At that point, beIN will have exclusive first window pay-TV rights to Warner Bros.’ first-run programming, comprising TV series and movies. Besides the pay-TV window, beIN has also acquired catch-up rights and access to an unspecified amount of Warner Bros. library content.

“beIN is constantly trying to achieve leadership position within the entertainment space and this deal with Warner Bros. will help us become the number one choice for movies and entertainment lovers” in the Middle East and North Africa, beIN Media Group Deputy CEO Yousef Al-Obaidly said in a statement.

“We are pleased that our feature films and television series will have a home across beIN’s channels in the Middle East and Africa, with our content making its region debut across these channels starting in 2019,” said Jeffrey Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution. “We are looking forward to working with the teams at beIN to market our programming in this important region for our business.”

Besides the moves that beIN  is making to become the top pay-TV operation in the Arab world, the Qatar-based broadcaster currently controls top Turkish paybox Digiturk and sports channels in France, Spain the U.S. and Australia.

In separate related news, which is symptomatic of the competitive climate in the Arab world’s pay-TV arena, OSN on Tuesday announced that it had renewed its multi-year exclusive partnership with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution.

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