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Showtime introduces video on demand to the Middle East

DUBAI - Pay TV network Showtime Arabia has become the first broadcaster in the Middle East to offer video on demand.

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'Showtime on Demand' went live today and will be officially launched by the Dubai media city-based company on Wednesday.

The move is the latest technical innovation to be pioneered by Showtime in the region, following the introduction of its digital video recorder, Showbox, last year. It also arrives 12 days before the launch of Showtime's coverage of the English Premier League, which it won the rights to broadcast after out-bidding rival ART last year.

Showtime, which is a joint venture between Kuwaiti holding company KIPCO and CBS, underwent a rebrand in March this year as part of its bid to cement its position as the leading pay TV provider in the region.

Marc-Antoine d'Halluin, president and CEO of Showtime, says VoD will be the perfect compliment to the broadcaster's overall package of Premier League football, combined with the latest top-rated TV series and movies from the US and UK.

He said: "We are among the first in the world to do this...It's only the very big guys such as Sky and HBO who are doing this at the same level as us.

"As an overall package, I would even say what we offer is better than Sky in the UK. We have all of the Premier League games, all of the top series and movies and the technology surrounding it, which now includes video on demand."

VoD will enable Premier League fans to watch the best game of the week when they like, as well as the latest episodes of hit shows such as 'Grey's Anatomy', 'Lost' and 'Prison Break', all of which are shown a year before free-to-air channels get the chance to broadcast them.

On Sunday, Showtime will be unveiling its new multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art studios in Dubai, where it will broadcast more than 500 hours of live studio coverage and 760 hours of live match broadcasting of the Premier League per season in both English and Arabic.

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