Why the industry needs to watch OSN

by Patrick Ryan | Published 1 week ago

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The Middle Eastern hotel industry was never one to stand still, and the fact that new markets keep emerging is a clear indication of this.

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A perfect example of this is illustrated in entertainment giant OSN’s enhanced proposition aimed at all sectors of the hospitality industry.

Hotel News Middle East caught up with Jim Backhouse, vice president OSN For Business, who explained how OSN is evolving its offering to meet the demands of new market conditions.

“We have had long-term relationships with premium brand hotels, and we have started to examine our strategy with a view to appealing to all sectors,” he says.

“We have a number of ways of doing that. One is looking at what the channel options should be for that sector and marry that with an appropriate price point that meets the budget required – that is something we are able to go to market with right now.”

He explains how OSN’s line-up for the mid-market sector will differ from that for the premium range of hotels.

“It is a different product. With the premium brand hotels there is a range of premium channels that typically come at a different price point – for the mid-range hotels we are looking at a different channel line-up that is condensed into fewer channels.”

What it boils down to, says Backhouse, is providing the best entertainment to hotels, both in-room and in the public viewing areas as well.

“It is about providing the best entertainment and that is what we do today and we want to do that tomorrow as well,” he says.

“We are exploring different ways of doing that, including on-demand guest streaming services that follow and drive the way people take on their entertainment.”

It is no secret these are interesting times for the market across the region but, instead of the usual doom and gloom that we associate with market forecasts, Backhouse is predicting further growth.

“Generally speaking we expect to see the market continue to grow,” he says.

“We definitely expect to see that happening as we ramp up to Expo2020 in Dubai with premium and mid-range hotels.”

He adds that the Vision 2030 planning by Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud,  Crown Prince and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs  in Saudi Arabia, will have a direct impact in augmenting interest in the hospitality sector within the Kingdom.

“There are opportunities growing there and we are getting ready for them,” Backhouse says.

“In terms of the UAE, it is about making sure we are more competitive and maintain relevance by bringing out the content we are renowned for.”

That content is ‘the best movies, series and entertainment” and Backhouse says OSN will continue to provide it at the earliest opportunity, a service that is very much still demanded by the market.

“I believe we are always going to be a strong presence in the market, the thing that we need to do is make sure that our potential viewers and customers get access to that in the ways they want,” he says.

The key message, adds Backhouse, is that OSN is relevant to all hotel guests.

“We believe we have a product that is going to be relevant to guests regardless of the type of hotel they are staying in,” he says.

“Our job is to match that entertainment to the hotel and then to the viewing guests and do it in the most impactful way.”

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