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Orbit Communications Company
Type Privately owned by Mawarid Holding [via Digital Media Systems]
Founded 1994
Headquarters Manama, Bahrain
Industry Media & Telecommunications
Products Direct broadcast satellite and Satellite Internet
Website Official Site

Orbit Communications Company was a privately owned Pay TV network, operating in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Owned by Saudi Arabia-based Mawarid Holding (via Digital Media Systems),[1][2] it was the first fully digital, multi-channel, multi-lingual, pay television service in the Middle East and North Africa. Orbit broadcasts in several languages around the world including Arabic, English and Filipino. On July 12, 2009 the company announced it's merger with Showtime Arabia.


The Technology

Orbit had launched 4 multi-function interactive decoders:

This allows the following features:

  • 2-level parental control (Channel & Rating).
  • 7-day bilingual electronic program guide.
  • 22 radio channels of music & news & entertainment.
  • Arabic subtitles & multi-lingual audio on selected channels.

Orbit Channel Lineup

  • Promotional:
    • Marhaba TV Free-To-Air
    • ShowCinema TVMAX Promo Free-To-Air
  • Arabic Channels:
    • Al Safwa
    • Al Yawm
    • Fann
    • Arabic Series Channel
    • Arabic Series Channel +4
    • ShowShasha
    • Cinema 1
    • Cinema 2
  • Movies:
    • Super Movies
    • Super Movies +1
    • Cinema City
    • Cinema City +1
    • ShowMovies 1
    • ShowMovies Action
    • ShowMovies Comedy
    • Xtra Movies
    • MGM Channel
    • TCM
    • FOX Movies Free-To-Air
  • Pay Per View:
    • ShowCinema TVMAX 1 - Channel 90
    • ShowCinema TVMAX 2 - Channel 91
    • ShowCinema TVMAX 3 - Channel 92
  • Free-To-Air:

Up to 500 Free-To-Air television and radio channels (including Arabsat, Nilesat, Hotbird... - based on type of connection).

Orbit ESPN's Disappearance

On April 1, 2008[3], after being on the air since 1994[4], Orbit ESPN disappeared from the Orbit lineup. This leaves Orbit without coverage of the NCAA, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, the National Football League, NASCAR, major golf and tennis tournaments, and the premier action sports franchise in the world, ESPN's X Games.

Fox Sports replaced Orbit ESPN on January 13, 2009.

BBC Arabic Television

On 21 April 1996, after 2 years on air, Orbit Communications Corporation (owned by Saudi King Fahd's cousin, Prince Khaled) pulled the plug on BBC Arabic Television after the BBC broadcast an episode of Panorama that was critical of the Saudi Arabian government. Many of the staff who worked for the original BBC Arabic Television service went on to work for Al-Jazeera television.[5].

Showtime Arabia Merger

On July 12, 2009 Showtime Arabia and Orbit Communications Company announced a merger that will create the “biggest Pay-TV platform” in the Middle East and North Africa.

The newly-formed company is an equal partnership that will offer 70 exclusive channels featuring new movies, sports, series, Arabic content and international shows.

New customers can subscribe to packages featuring Showtime Arabia's and Orbit Communications Company's programs, while existing subscribers will be able to either retain or upgrade their content. The company will offer HD channels, video on demand and other interactive services.

See also


  1. ^ Zawya - Mawarid Holding
  2. ^ Zawya - Orbit Satellite Television and Radio Network
  3. ^ Newlywed in Dubai
  4. ^ Orbit and ESPN International renew programming distribution agreement

External links



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