SES Astra expands its interactive TV service to the Arab World
Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

SES Astra has signed a new contract for its interactive TV service Blucom for the Arab World. MBC, the leading free-to-air multi-channel media group in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, will use Blucom for voting, greeting, downloading, and other enhanced TV-applications for its flagship channel MBC1, its news channel Al Arabiya, and its Saudi Arabian radio channel MBC FM. The roll-out of the service will start end of October 2007 and is technically implemented by APS Astra Platform Services and its affiliated company 5Cast, both based in Munich, Germany.

Blucom is an interactive TV-service that combines broadcast technologies with the mobile phone environment and thus enhances revenue models, branding and strengthens customer retention for TV broadcasters. Blucom synchronizes classic TV-content with additional information in real-time by displaying additional content and value added services on the mobile phones of the viewers. The backchannel and communication from the audience to the broadcaster function via SMS.

MBC Group which is based in Dubai currently operates six digital TV channels as well as two digital radio channels, O3 Productions and Middle East News and has evolved into a global media group that enriches people’s lives in the Arab world through information, interaction and entertainment. MBC reaches about 60 million households and has a market share of around 40 per cent.

(Source: SES Astra)