Orbit Communications Company

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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:

Channel lineup[edit]

Orbit ESPN's disappearance[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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[edit]

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.

Showtime Arabia merger[edit]

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 13 February 2014.

External links[edit]