Orbit Communications Company

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Orbit Communications Company
Satellite television
Industry Telecommunication
Fate Merged with Showtime Arabia into Orbit Showtime
Founded 1994
Defunct 2009
Headquarters Manama, Bahrain
Products Direct broadcast satellite and Satellite Internet
Owner Privately owned by Mawarid Holding [via Digital Media Systems]
Website Official Site

Orbit Communications Company was a privately owned Pay TV network, operating in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. 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. On 12 July 2009 the company announced its merger with Showtime Arabia into Orbit Showtime.

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


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[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 transmitted on 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]. http://www.preddonlee.com/al_jazeera_origins.html

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.[7]

The newly formed company, which is called OSN,[7] 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.


External links[edit]