KIPCO driving digital convergence in media and telecommunications sectors, says Viacom chairman
The chairman of Viacom Inc., one of the world’s leading media companies, has endorsed the vision of the Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) in developing the most digitally converged group of businesses in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Speaking at KIPCO’s Kuwait City headquarters following a meeting with KIPCO senior executives to review the progress of Showtime Arabia, a leading digital pay-television network in the MENA region and a joint venture between Viacom and KIPCO, Sumner Redstone, chairman and chief executive of Viacom Inc., said: “KIPCO has developed an impressive range of companies operating in the media and telecommunications sector that bring the benefits of digital convergence to viewers and users throughout this rapidly evolving region.
“The strength of those companies, coupled with Viacom’s unrivalled programming content, means we can grasp the opportunities presented by the rapid convergence of the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors.
“KIPCO is at the forefront of this revolution and I look forward to the next stage of exciting growth for Showtime and the entertainment industry in the region.”
Viacom owns global brands like CBS, Paramount and MTV. KIPCO’s media and telecommunications interests include, among others, Wataniya’s mobile telephone operations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq and the Maldives, United Networks in Kuwait, Global Direct, the regional distribution and installation company, and Showtime.
KIPCO managing director and chief executive Faisal Al-Ayyar commented: “Over the years Viacom and KIPCO have formed a strong relationship through our joint media venture in Showtime Arabia.
“From the beginning our goal was to provide the best in Western entertainment for an Arab audience. Now that Showtime is a leading brand in the digital satellite pay-TV sector throughout the Middle East, we are assessing opportunities to further enhance in-home entertainment options for our subscribers.”
Launching with just seven channels in 1996, the Showtime platform now offers 49 entertainment channels. It has been at the forefront of the digital pay-television sector in the Middle and North Africa and has consistently added more channels and innovative features like pay-per-view cinema and interactive games.
Mr Redstone said: “The competitive and challenging environment of the MENA region has spurred the Showtime management team to new heights of creativity. As the leading regional network Showtime is extremely well prepared to take advantage of the enormous untapped opportunities that exist, and I look forward to its continued growth and success.”