A memorandum of understanding was signed Wednesday between Paul Dempsey, president for global markets at BBC Studios, and Yousef Al-Obaidly, beIN’s Deputy CEO, at BBC Studios’ London headquarters for a renewable three-year agreement that expands their ties beyond existing BBC content carriage deals on the beIN pay-TV platform across the Middle East and North Africa and on its fully owned Turkish pay-TV service, Digiturk.
Earlier this year, beIN launched BBC Earth, the BBC Studios’ global factual brand, as a linear channel across the MENA region. BBC Earth and kiddie channel CBeebies are available in Turkey on Digiturk.
The tie-up with the BBC marks beIN’s first significant foray into production of original content for the MENA region and Turkey, even though details on the types of content are being kept under wraps.
“This MOU builds on BBC Studios’ successful existing partnership with beIN Media Group and stands to bring our expertise in development and production to an even wider international audience,” Dempsey said in a statement.
Al-Obaidly called the agreement “a new milestone of cultural collaboration between our organizations, bringing together two of the strongest global entertainment brands to deliver stand-out original content, cutting-edge innovation and, ultimately, more value to our customers.” He went on to add that he was also “delighted to support BBC Studios’ intention to explore broader business opportunities together with beIN Media Group in Qatar.”
BeIN, which is a spin-off of the Al Jazeera news network, has been shaking up the Middle East pay-TV market since 2015, when it branched out from sports into general entertainment, feeding its new entertainment channels via deals with AMC Networks, Warner Bros. TV and CBS Studios, among others, as well as with its purchase of Miramax in 2016.
According to analysts, thanks primarily to its strong sports offer, the beIN pay-TV platform could soon overtake its main competitor, OSN, even though OSN has long-term deals in place with most Hollywood studios.