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NBCUniversal and OSN Set to Launch Syfy in Middle East

Prominent Dubai-based pay-TV player OSN will launch NBCUniversal’s science fiction channel Syfy across the Middle East and North Africa starting July 8.

The exclusive addition of Syfy on OSN’s roster of channels follows the launch last month of Viacom’s Comedy Central channel in the region, also on OSN.

Science fiction and U.S.-style comedy are both relatively new genres in the Arab world, though sci-fi has been increasingly striking a chord with the region’s large youth demographic.

In a statement OSN Chief Content Officer Emad Morcos pointed out that “science-fiction enjoys great popularity in the region, especially among youth.”

The Syfy channel on OSN will carry a mix of new shows, including spaceship drama “Dark Matter” (pictured), reality show “Face Off,” in which make-up and special effect artists face elaborate challenges, and “Killjoys,” about three interplanetary bounty hunters.

Syfy will also be offering classic Hollywood blockbusters such as “The Mummy” and “King Kong” to OSN viewers and other movies including “The Incredible Hulk” and “Doom,” as well as Japanese animation. Most of this content will have Arabic subtitles.

The launch of Syfy comes after OSN and NBCUniversal International signed a broader long-term deal earlier this year. It will expand the number of NBCUniversal International’s channels in the MENA region which includes E! Entertainment Television, also on OSN.

Besides NBCUniversal, OSN has close relationships with Hollywood studios including Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox, Disney, Sony, MGM, HBO and DreamWorks. They recently re-upped their exclusive output deal with MGM in the immediate aftermath of news that its fast-growing smaller rival, Qatar-based biIN Media Group had acquired 100% of U.S. studio Miramax.

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