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Saudi state TV to lease Arabsat transponder

The Saudi Arabian Government is to lease a transponder from the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (Arabsat) to broadcast state satellite television channels.

Rapid TV News reports that Cabinet has authorised the Kingdom’s Audio Visual Media Authority to establish the satellite capacity for the transmission of Saudi-owned television programmes.

According to Arab News, along with Saudi TV, the country’s television market is currently dominated by free-to-air satellite networks MBC, Rotana, and Dubai TV – with pay-TV operators OSN and Al Jazeera Sport also beginning to make significant inroads.

Private television stations are not allowed to operate from within the Kingdom, however Saudi investors are behind the Dubai-based MBC and OSN networks, while Rotana – which broadcasts pan-regional free-to-air TV channels is owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal.