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Al Arabiya makes the online Jump

Newscaster joins channels to be available online

The Mideast’s leading pan-Arab satcaster, MBC, has inked a deal with Internet TV provider JumpTV to make its flagship channel MBC1 and newscaster Al Arabiya available online. Toronto-based JumpTV has increasingly pushed into the Arab satcaster market.

Its Arab bouquet, called 1,001 Nights, offers global auds more than 20 channels including Al Jazeera and Dubai TV.

“The Arabic-speaking diaspora is one of the largest communities, with more than 60 million members and growing, especially in countries with high broadband penetration such as the U.S., U.K. and throughout Western Europe,” says JumpTV prexy and CEO Kaleil Isaza.

Online video has grown in popularity across the U.S. and Europe, with several major broadcasters seeking to expand their Web-based offerings. The amount of video watched online rose from 1.5 billion streams per month in 2005 to 7.18 billion streams in July this year, according to Internet research analyst Comscore.

JumpTV can now claim to be the net’s leading provider of ethnic TV content. In addition to its Arabic language programming, the company has also inked a deal with Spanish operator Telefonica, which boasts of 180 million online subscribers.

Execs at JumpTV confirmed a pilot program with Comcast on Oct. 16 in which 10 million high-speed subscribers of the U.S. cable provider receive all of JumpTV’s 225 TV channels from 65 countries free for two weeks.

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