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The great shift

The great shift

LBC Sat has ended its contract with the Choueiri Group and moved its advertising sales in house. And the man behind the shift is none other than Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

October 28, 2008 8:37 by

Austyn Allison


Lebanese broadcasting big-hitter LBC Sat is readying to move its advertising sales in house, taking the lucrative contract away from Arab media sales giant Choueiri Group and giving it to LBC affiliate Rotana Media Services (RMS).

An employee at the RMS office in Dubai appeared to confirm the report on Thursday, saying the company was not releasing any official statement yet but was preparing a press release related to the matter. Executives were not immediately available for comment and a message requesting confirmation of the report went unanswered.

LBC and Choueiri officials in Beirut also did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Sources say the deal will commence in January 2009. LBC Sat is one of the leading TV channels in the Arab world, broadcasting hit shows such as Star Academy throughout the Middle East and North Africa – although Saudi-owned MBC Group, the dominant broadcaster in the region, has taken an increasing market share in recent years.

When LBC Sat and Rotana Group, both of which have a lead shareholder in Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, announced a merger in 2007, the companies hailed it as the formation of a new Arab “media conglomerate” even while remaining “organizationally and financially” independent. Since then it has been unclear to what extent the two companies would share resources or if the merger would even last.

Rotana is already 100-percent owned by Alwaleed, who is a shareholder in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. In July, Alwaleed boosted his stake in LBC to 85 percent with a capital increase of $78 million, a move that signaled intent to further the integration of his media businesses. Giving LBC’s advertising sales to a Rotana unit would further fortify both the horizontal and vertical integration of his investments. 


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