Orbit Communications Company
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Orbit Communications Company
Orbit Communications Company
Satellite television
FateMerged with Showtime Arabia into Orbit Showtime
HeadquartersManama, Bahrain
ProductsDirect broadcast satellite and Satellite Internet
OwnerPrivately owned by Mawarid Holding [via Digital Media Systems]
WebsiteOfficial Site

Orbit Communications Company was a privately owned Pay TV network, operating in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Owned by Saudi Arabia-based Mawarid Holding (via Digital Media Systems),[1][2] it was the first fully digital, multi-channel, multi-lingual, pay television service in the Middle East and North Africa and was also the world's first fully digital TV network.[3] Orbit broadcast in several languages around the world including English, Arabic and Filipino.

Some of Orbit's Arabic channels including Bahrain TV, Al Safwa, Fann, Al Yawm, Cinema 1, Cinema 2, Mousalsalat and Mousalsalat +2 are available throughout North and South America through myTV (Arabic).[4]

In 2009, the company merged with Showtime Arabia to form OSN, which is currently the biggest pay-TV provider in the MENA region.


Orbit had launched 4 multi-function interactive decoders:

This allowed the following features:

  • 2-level parental control (Channel & Rating).
  • 7-day bilingual electronic program guide.
  • 22 radio channels of music & news & entertainment.
  • Arabic subtitles & multi-lingual audio on selected channels.

Channel lineup

Up To 500 and more Free-To-Air television and radio channels (including Arabsat, Nilesat, Hotbird... - based on type of connection).

HBO Primetime

Orbit TV and Radio Network, the world's first fully digital multi-channel, multi-lingual pay TV service, is pleased to reveal it will be broadcasting HBO Programs on America Plus. Starting August, a variety of cutting edge HBO product will be available for 3 hours on America Plus starting from 9pm KSA time. "We are pleased that more original and superb "life-changing" programs are now available on our network for our valued viewers especially programs from such an esteemed producer & TV network as HBO. This will further enhance Orbit's position in providing the best quality programs and services for viewers"said Khulud Abu Homos, Orbit's Senior VP of Western Programming. A variety of HBO's best programs will be available, including top series and sitcoms such as "John from Cincinnati", "In Treatment" and the third best TV series for 2007 "Tell Me You Love Me". Alongside these are some great award winning movies such as the best movie made for TV in 2007 "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee'' and the Golden Globe 2008 winning movie "Longford". Furthermore compelling documentaries such as "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" which won the outstanding non fiction award special in 2007 and The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl will give viewers an unparalleled line up. Not to mention comedy specials such as Dane Cook, Vicious Circle and George Lopez:America's Mexican. As America's most successful premium television company, HBO has been entertaining over 40 million viewers for over 30 years where they have developed a reputation for offering very high quality original programming and recently HBO were winners of six 2008 Golden Globe Awards. Orbit, the leading pay TV network in the Middle East and North Africa, offers an unrivaled variety of programming to accommodate its diverse, multi-lingual audience. With digital satellite technology, Orbit provides perfect sound and picture quality, while offering several TV and radio channels.

Orbit ESPN's disappearance

On 1 April 2008,[5] after being on the air since 1994,[6]Orbit ESPN disappeared from the Orbit lineup. This left Orbit without coverage of the NCAA, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, the National Football League, NASCAR, major golf and tennis tournaments, and the premier action sports franchise in the world, ESPN's X Games.

Fox Sports replaced Orbit ESPN on 13 January 2009.

One of the reasons that break the contract with ESPN is the severe financial problems happened at that time, since 1999-2000 the production graph line has been moved down. In 2009, a major delay in paying salaries for orbit employees in Egypt, Lebanon and KSA for more than 4 months.

BBC Arabic Television

BBC Arabic Television was originally transmitted via Orbit from 1994 until April 21, 1996, when it was taken off air by Orbit after the channel broadcast an episode of the BBC Panorama program critical of the Saudi Arabian government. Many of the BBC Arabic Television staff then went to work for Al Jazeera.[7] The BBC has since relaunched the channel autonomously in 2008.

Orbit Packages


  • SUPER MEGA: Super Mega includes all Arabic and Western Orbit TV Channels. Plus, 22 Radio Chanels and 4 TV MAX Channels.
  • SUPER PRIME: Super Prime includes only Orbits' Western Channels, plus NBA TV, Al Riyadiyah, Music Now , MTV Arabia. Plus, 22 Radio Channels and 4 TV MAX Channels.
  • ALFA: Includes all Orbits' Arabic Channels, plus CNN International and Music Now. Plus, 22 Radio Channels and 4 TV MAX Channels.
  • FAMILY: The best in Family entertainment: Al Safwa, Al Yawm, Fann, Music Now, Arabic Series Channel, MTV Arabia, Fun Channel (Jetix Play), Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Playhouse Disney, Toon Disney, Disney Channel, Spacetoon 1, Nickelodeon Arabia, The History Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Science, CNN International, Bloomberg Television, Euronews, CNN International, Al Riyadiyah, NBA TV, Hollywood Channel (Zone Club), BBC Prime, Super Comedy, Discovery Travel & Living, 4 TV MAX channels. Plus, 22 Radio Channels.
  • PINOY PLUS: The best in Filipino programming: GMA Pinoy TV, NBN Pinoy News, GMA Life TV. Plus, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, MGM Movies, Discovery Science, Animal Planet, Hollywood Channel (Zone Club), Fashion TV, Music Now, Trace TV, MTV Arabia, CNN International, NBA TV, 22 Radio Channels and 4 TV MAX Channels.
  • KIDS: The package includes the best in kids entertainment, documentary channels and sports channels: Fun Channel (Jetix Play), Playhouse Disney, Toon Disney, Disney Channel, Spacetoon 1, Nickelodeon Arabia, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Discovery Science, Animal Planet, The History Channel, NBA TV. Plus, 22 Radio Channels and 4 TV MAX Channels. (Kids package is only available as a second subscription only).

Showtime Arabia merger

On 12 July 2009 Showtime Arabia and Orbit Communications Company announced a merger that created the "biggest Pay-TV platform" in the Middle East and North Africa.[8]

The newly formed company, which is called OSN,[8] is an equal partnership that would offer 70 exclusive channels featuring new movies, sports, series, Arabic content and international shows.

New customers can subscribe to packages featuring Showtime Arabia's and Orbit Communications Company's programs, while existing subscribers will be able to either retain or upgrade their content. The company will offer HD channels, video on demand and other interactive services.


  1. ^ Zawya - Mawarid Holding
  2. ^ Zawya - Orbit Satellite Television and Radio Network
  3. ^ http://www.telecompaper.com/news/orbit-plans-tv-service--13295
  4. ^ http://www.my-tv.us/PackagesListing.aspx?pageid=29
  5. ^ Newlywed in Dubai
  6. ^ Orbit and ESPN International renew programming distribution agreement Archived 2008-04-15 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ http://www.preddonlee.com/al_jazeera_origins.html
  8. ^ a b Chiba Yushi (February 2012). "A Comparative Study on the Pan-Arab Media Strategies: The Cases of Egypt and Saudi Arabia" (PDF). 5 (1&2). Retrieved 2014. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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