The entertainment provider told sister-publication Arabian Business in a statement that the move to axe the hugely popular Pehla channel and cricket coverage was down to the effects of piracy in the MENA region.It read: “Illegal streaming sites, pirate IPTV decoders within OSN’s licensed territories, has made it difficult for OSN to continue offering Pehla.”
All Pehla packs will be discontinued and further subscriptions stopped from July 15, the day after the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.The statement continued: “These changes may inconvenience some Pehla customers, however, they will be given the choice to retain their favourite non-South Asian channels and watch an eclectic mix of additional world-class series, movies, kids’ and factual entertainment, as well as some of OSN’s exclusive channels, that showcase popular content from around the world like Chernobyl, Handmaid’s Tale, Keeping up with the Kardashians, La La Land and more.”
In March, OSN announced it was closing its sports offering aside from its two cricket channels. The latest move will close the sports coverage altogether.OSN, owned and operated by Panther Media Group, has the rights to broadcast into 24 countries across the MENA region. The company has two shareholders - KIPCO and the Mawarid Group Limited.
In November last year, OSN’s controlling shareholder KIPCO, which owns 60.5%, revealed it was working with US bank Goldman Sachs to sell its stake in the company.