DUBAI: OSN Group has launched a refreshed identity for its streaming service, OSN+, which will replace the OSN streaming app.
OSN+ will be led by Nick Forward, previously chief content officer at entertainment company Stan in Australia.
Speaking to Arab News, Forward said that OSN had seen “some confusion amongst consumers” over its streaming service and traditional TV channels.
The idea behind the rebrand was to differentiate the streaming service and make it clear that “it (OSN+) was competing with other streaming services rather than against OSN’s pay-TV service,” he added.
Globally, the plus symbol has become synonymous with streaming services, he said, making the name change a “straightforward decision.”
The new brand identity sees OSN replacing its traditional red logo with a more youthful and colorful one in a bid to create something that is “properly differentiated whilst respecting everything that OSN represents in the region,” said Forward.
Over the last few months, OSN has struck various content deals with leading companies such as All3Media International and Endeavor Content. It has also expanded existing partnerships by adding new shows from Sky Studios and Peacock Originals produced by Universal Studios Group, as well as extending its agreement with HBO.
In January, Disney+ announced that it would launch this summer in the Middle East. OSN previously had an exclusive deal for all Disney+ originals in the region but since the announcement, that content is no longer available on OSN’s streaming platform. OSN still airs Disney content on its traditional TV channels.
Forward said: “This is something we have known was going to happen for a long time. It’s also part of the reason behind the new partnerships that OSN has invested in.
“Whilst today is the great reveal, a lot of the changes have been happening over the last three to four months.
“There is a whole range of content deals that have gone into ensuring that we have got a proposition that really reflects where streaming consumption is,” he added.
The rebrand includes improvements to the user experience such as a new and improved interface, and better search and recommendation functionality.
The other area of focus is original content. Forward did not share any numbers, but said: “I have a very strong budget for this year and my budget for next year is a significant increase on that.”
He added that commissioning and producing original content is a slow, time-consuming process. “There will be a handful of projects this year but next year is where we really see us starting to deliver on that promise of creating original content that can live next to the HBOs of the world,” he said.
The goal with original content is to “create world-class stories but in the local language with local storytellers,” while ensuring that it is “really high-level, premium content that can sit comfortably against some of the best TV in the world,” Forward added.
OSN’s first original series, a local adaptation of US drama series “Suits,” will launch at the beginning of Ramadan, followed by the original feature film “Yellow Bus” later in the year.
OSN has also renewed “No Activity” (Elwada’a Mustaqer) for a second season. Starring Egyptian comedy duo Shadi Alfons and Khalid Mansour, who are well known for “Saturday Night Live Arabia,” the OSN series is a comedy-drama that takes a satirical look at the misadventures of cops and criminals against the backdrop of a major drug cartel bust.
Forward said: “I’m really excited by what we will bring to our customers in the next six to 12 months — not just in terms of our international partnerships, but also in terms of that local storytelling as well.”
The new OSN+ app will be available across devices from all major TV manufacturers, as well as mobile and web devices, for $9.50 per month.