Palestine TV jumps online

Mideast TV market proliferates

LONDON — A month after Islamic militant group Hamas swept to power in the Palestinian territory in an election upset, public net Palestine TV is seeking a wider audience by inking a deal with Jump TV to go online.

Palestine TV’s content will be exclusively broadcast and distributed on the Internet by Jump, which claims to be the world’s leading Web distributor with more than 135 channels from more than 60 countries.

Established in 1994, Palestine TV is a subsidiary of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corp., a public institution largely funded by the European Union, the U.S. and Russia.

Its charter commits it to reporting the news in a balanced manner and working toward preserving peace.

“The paradigm shift that the recent elections have brought about in Palestine has generated an overwhelming demand for the most up-to-date news and information,” says PBC chairman Bassem Abu Sumaya. “Palestine TV can now communicate worldwide and provide an outlet of unfiltered content, reported by Palestinians for Palestinians.”

Since Hamas’ victory, however, both the U.S. and the EU have suspended financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, leading to fears that PBC would be unable to pay staff wages.

Jump is not worried by the uncertainty.

“We assume the financial risk in the relationship. We’re not being paid directly by PBC. We get paid by subscribers,” says Jump prexy Kaleil Isaza.

With more than 200 satcasters to choose from, the Mideast TV market has become an increasingly important region for Jump.

Recently, the platform launched an Arab TV bouquet, called 1,001 Nights, offering global auds more than 20 channels from across the region, including Al-Jazeera.

The package carries satcasters from Morocco through to Lebanon, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Most prolific country, however, is war-torn Iraq, which boasts a third of the channels on offer, including, ironically, the Arab Tourism Channel.