The first-of-its-kind 'Customer Experience Summit' discussed the future of media and streaming in the MENA region.
OSN recently hosted over 100 leading industry stakeholders and decision-makers for focused discussions across Pay TV, streaming and tech. The event was attended by over 100 guests, from companies including, Google, Mobily KSA, Samsung, Apple, Virgin, du and Etisalat.
In a series of engaging talks, thought-leaders from companies including Anghami, Google and Warner Bros. Discovery debated the trends, the opportunities, and the challenges from the ever-evolving landscape of media and streaming in the region.
The summit began with a keynote address by OSN’s CEO, Joe Kawkabani. He briefly touched on OSN’s transformational journey over the last year and how it has overcome market challenges, achieving a 40% year-on-year increase in engagement on the platform. He went on to discuss the key trends affecting the tech and entertainment industry, from rising content costs to noting that streaming democratises the value chain but there is pressure on the content machine to constantly feed the beast, the growing adaptation of ad-tier, how to build a sustainable business with the pressures of content economics, the benefits and pitfalls of technology, and the aggregation opportunity, culminating in summarising the positive growth seen in the outlook for the MENA region and beyond.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Joe Kawkabani, CEO, OSN said: “OSN is driven by the high demands and standards of its consumers and their shifting and evolving needs. Strong content is not enough; we must keep people engaged, anticipate their needs, and provide them with user experiences that they can’t find anywhere else. The audience is constantly changing in terms of how they consume entertainment, and we respond by delivering the most in-demand content, products, and value.”
He added: “In a region first, we are proud to bring together industry leaders, partners, and experts in this format to discuss the future of media in MENA to ultimately be able to deliver an elevated customer experience.”
One of the highlight sessions of the summit, New Growth Strategies in a Divided Landscape, featured guest speaker Jamie Cooke, General Manager, Middle East, Warner Bros. Discovery and OSN’s CEO Joe Kawkabani. The conversation, moderated by Kelsey Warner, delved into innovative strategies for growth in a rapidly evolving media landscape such as personalisation and customization and taking content beyond the screen.
Jamie Cooke General Manager, Middle East, Warner Bros. Discovery, commented: “OSN has always been a highly valued partner to Warner Bros. Discovery as we continue to deliver something for everyone to watch, whenever they want. We’re focused on the customer, and it’s crucial for us that OSN shares the same vision and strategy in terms of making every decision based on how it benefits who is watching. It’s the strength of this partnership that has enabled us to deliver a fantastic array of content to the MENA region, with much more to come this year and beyond.
Cooke also said that MAX’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery will not go direct in the MENA region any time soon, while reiterating its partnerships with OSN, which was renewed in a multi-year agreement earlier this year.
Another session that garnered significant attention was led by Justin Hewelt, an industry expert, who shared his insights on Telco Trends and the Power of Television. Hewelt’s discussion highlighted the evolving role of telecommunications companies in the entertainment industry and the impact on viewers’ experiences.
The Introducing the new streaming TV: OSNtv session featured OSN executives Devrim Melek and Rory Buckley who discussed the recent upgrades to OSN’s latest home product, OSNtv, as it evolved to a fully dishless offering with IP functionality, marking a significant milestone in the company’s journey to provide viewers with a top-of-the-line quality entertainment experience.
Emmy-award-winning producer and cartographer Evan Shapiro touched on how users want both local and global progamming, with local publishers in the MENA market able to leverage the additional flexibility coupled with their understanding of the content needs of the market. The session was hosted by a representative from OSN’s streaming service, OSN+, which has long-term partnerships with major studios including HBO, NBC Universal, Paramount+, Endeavor Content, MGM, and Sony, to deliver critically acclaimed series and must-see movies, as well as world-class Turkish and Arabic content.
Guest speaker Elie Habib, co-founder and CTO of Anghami presented a case study that discussed how brands can harness the power of AI, giving the creative world access to intelligence that can empower their everyday work.