StarzPlay to launch discovery+ streaming service in MENA

StarzPlay to launch discovery+ streaming service in MENA
discovery+ features a wide range of exclusive content, including original series and high-quality documentaries, in a variety of genres.
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Updated 12 January 2021

StarzPlay to launch discovery+ streaming service in MENA

StarzPlay to launch discovery+ streaming service in MENA

Discovery Inc., a global provider of real-life entertainment, has partnered with StarzPlay, a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, to launch discovery+, a definitive nonfiction, real-life subscription streaming service, across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. StarzPlay subscribers can now watch discovery+ content within a dedicated branded area across all its existing platforms. 

The partnership was announced at a virtual launch broadcast from Dubai. 

Recently announced as part of a global rollout, the service to be launched in MENA, features a wide range of exclusive content, including original series and high-quality documentaries, in a variety of genres, such as: Lifestyle and relationships, home and food, true crime, paranormal, adventure and natural history, science and technology, and environment.

Kasia Kieli, president and managing director EMEA at Discovery Inc., said: “The launch of discovery+ across MENA represents a major step toward adding 18 additional countries and territories to the global expansion of the platform, giving customers options to access the content that they love and have come to expect from Discovery.” 

Maaz Sheikh, CEO and co-founder, StarzPlay, said: “The unprecedented growth of online streaming has driven the need for compelling content that provides real value for subscribers. As the region’s pioneering and homegrown SVOD platform, we have been building strategic partnerships to offer more online content and varied choices to our subscribers. We are confident that the discovery+ add on will be welcomed by the MENA audience and we look forward to growing this partnership further.”

In the MENA region, discovery+ subscribers will enjoy new content added to the platform each month, featuring global franchises such as Shark Week, MythBusters, Gold Rush, Expedition Unknown, House Hunters International, 90 Day Fiancé, NASA’s Unexplained Files and Say Yes to the Dress.

Francesco Perta, senior business development and distribution director, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and North East Europe at Discovery Inc., said: “Our vast content library gives us a running start to serve fans directly in markets across EMEA, and the world, in ways that are relevant, compelling and tailored to each market.” 

Our partnership with StarzPlay is another example of how we are scaling our DTC businesses by leveraging our combination of competitive advantages — content ownership, brand strength and the biggest global footprint in media.”


STC’s Q4 net profit jumps 15.6% to $714m

STC’s Q4 net profit jumps 15.6% to $714m
Updated 25 January 2021

STC’s Q4 net profit jumps 15.6% to $714m

STC’s Q4 net profit jumps 15.6% to $714m

STC’s net profit for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 reached SR2.68 billion ($714 million), an increase of 15.6 percent compared to the corresponding quarter last year. For the 12-month period of 2020, the net profit reached SR11.08 billion, an increase of 3.94 percent.

The revenues for Q4 reached SR15.21 billion — an increase of 14.69 percent compared to the corresponding quarter last year. For the 12-month period of 2020, the revenues reached SR58.94 billion, an increase of 8.43 percent.

The gross profit for Q4 reached SR8.48 billion, an increase of 1.54 percent compared to the corresponding quarter last year. For the 12-month period of 2020, the gross profit reached SR33.99 billion, an increase of 4.96 percent.

The operating profit for Q4 reached SR3.29 billion, an increase of 37.08 percent compared to the corresponding quarter last year. For the 12-month period of 2020, the operating profit reached SR12.81 billion, an increase of 2.69 percent.

The earnings before interest, taxes, zakat, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for Q4 reached SR5.716 million — an increase of 14.62 percent compared to the corresponding quarter last year. For the 12-month period of 2020, the EBITDA reached SR22.175 billion, an increase of 4.28 percent.

Nasser bin Sulaiman Al-Nasser, STC Group CEO, said the company has achieved the highest annual revenue in the past eight years. This achievement was primarily due to the increased demand for STC’s services and products, and the company’s ability to meet this demand promptly and efficiently, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The STC Consumer Business Unit’s revenue has grown as a result of 27.5 percent increase in FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) and 10.6 percent increase in broadband subscribers, in addition to a 9 percent increase in data revenue during the current period compared to the previous period.

Further, the Enterprise Business Unit’s revenue has also increased during the 12-month period, by 24.6 percent, due to the company’s ability to provide the necessary support and innovative services to its customers in order to accelerate their digital infrastructure transformation. Despite the challenges faced by the Wholesale Business Unit due to the travel ban and its impact on international roaming revenues, the unit’s revenue increased during 2020 as well. Moreover, the revenue generated by STC’s subsidiaries grew by 13.8 percent during the current year, which contributed positively to achieving these results.

Al-Nasser highlighted STC’s success as a digital enabler for the Saudi G20 presidency, where STC provided critical telecommunications and digital services for all meetings as well as expanded the 5G network by 130 percent to accommodate the increase in digital services during the G20 summit.

Recently, the company launched three mega data centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and Madinah with the aim of enabling the digital transformation of the government and private sectors and strengthening the cloud infrastructure for the local digital economy in the fields of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and cloud computing, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals.

Additionally, in order to enhance the infrastructure and accelerate the growth of the local digital economy, STC also signed a $500 million non-binding MoU to invest in the field of cloud services with Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and artificial intelligence arm of the Alibaba Group.

STC Group was re-elected to the board of directors of the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), following its win in the elections comprising the world’s 25 top telecommunications companies.

As part of STC’s strategy to support and develop the financial sector in the Kingdom, STCPay signed an agreement with Western Union to sell an equity stake of 15 percent at a value of SR750 million ($200 million), where the proceeds will be used to develop the company and support its expansion plans.