GlobeCast and FRANCE 24 Expand HbbTV Trial to the Middle East With Arabsat and Orange

GlobeCast and FRANCE 24 announced today that they will expand their exploratory Hybrid Broadband Broadcast Television (HbbTV) service to the Middle East in fall 2012 with the support of Orange and Arabsat. The service, to be offered to satellite viewers of FRANCE 24 in the Middle East, follows a European deployment begun earlier this year with SES. The project will add a layer of interactivity to satellite TV programming by harnessing the capability of connected TVs, allowing satellite TV viewers in the region to use their connected televisions to interact with FRANCE 24's linear and non-linear content.
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PARIS -- Sept. 19, 2012 -- GlobeCast and FRANCE 24 announced today that they will expand their exploratory Hybrid Broadband Broadcast Television (HbbTV) service to the Middle East in fall 2012 with the support of Orange and Arabsat. The service, to be offered to satellite viewers of FRANCE 24 in the Middle East, follows a European deployment begun earlier this year with SES. The project will add a layer of interactivity to satellite TV programming by harnessing the capability of connected TVs, allowing satellite TV viewers in the region to use their connected televisions to interact with FRANCE 24's linear and non-linear content.

This service will be a robust test of HbbTV's ability to enhance the quality of DTH users' viewing experience. It should also provide valuable insight towards building broadcast offers that combine the power and reliability of traditional broadcast delivery with the new possibilities offered by the latest content delivery networks (CDNs).

GlobeCast will use its broadcast experience and knowledge of connected TVs to lead this trial. It will also provide ground services and uplink from its Paris technical operations center. The satellite feed will be delivered via the BADR-4 satellite, Arabsat's leading orbital position in the Middle East. Orange will use the CDN expertise of its Smart Networks Program to drive the broadband delivery of this service. The result will be an integrated solution that promises to deliver a robust experience for the end viewer.

"FRANCE 24 is always concerned with the quality of experience of its viewers worldwide. HbbTV is one technology which appears to be a promising way to raise the bar for these viewers. Expanding our experiment to a second region, the Middle East, means that we'll have a reliable test to measure the benefits of HbbTV on a global level." said Frank Melloul, Head of Strategy, Development, and Public Affairs at FRANCE 24.

Philippe Rouxel, Chief Marketing Officer of GlobeCast, said, "It's our pleasure to work with FRANCE 24 to take its content further, in every sense of the word. We have a long-standing relationship with Arabsat and of course our parent company Orange who are the ideal partners to help us bring the convenience of connected television to Middle Eastern viewers."

Khalid Balkheyour, President and CEO of ARABSAT, said, "We are delighted to be part of this new interactive viewer experience. We fully support FRANCE 24 and GlobeCast in introducing this new broadcast technology to the region and wish them the very best of success."

HbbTV is an industry standard providing an open and business-neutral technology platform that seamlessly combines TV services delivered via broadcast with services delivered via broadband and also enables access to Internet-only services for consumers using connected TVs and set-top boxes. 

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About FRANCE 24 (www.france24.com): 

FRANCE 24 -- media of the Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France group -- is the first international news channel that offers a French perspective and sensibility on world events. It broadcasts worldwide on a 24/7 basis on three channels, in French, English, and Arabic. FRANCE 24 can be accessed by cable, satellite, ADSL, and mobile phone. The website, www.france24.com, is available in three languages (English, French, and Arabic).

About Arabsat

Founded in 1976 by the 21 member-states of the Arab League, ARABSAT has been serving the growing needs of the Arab world for over 35 years. It carries over 450 TV FTA channels, 30+ HD channels, 4 pay-TV networks, and 160+ radio stations reaching tens of millions of homes in more than 100 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and around the world, including an audience of over 170 million viewers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region alone tuned into Arabsat's video "hotspot" at 26º East.

Operating a growing fleet of satellites at the 26° East, 30.5° East, and 20º East positions of the geostationary orbit, ARABSAT is the only satellite operator in the MENA region offering the full spectrum of broadcast, telecommunications, and broadband services. This capacity will continue to expand with the launching of new satellites, making the ARABSAT satellite fleet the youngest in the region.

About GlobeCast (www.globecast.com)

A subsidiary of France Telecom/Orange, GlobeCast is a leading provider of media management and global content delivery services for broadcasters and content creators. With a secure fiber and satellite network connected to dozens of teleports, technical operations centers, and points-of-presence worldwide, GlobeCast manages and transports millions of hours of video and other rich media each year. An integrator of audiovisual technology and a full service provider, GlobeCast works with all the actors in the audiovisual chain from production companies to broadcasters, retail organizations, cinema chains, and more. The company provides on-site service from major news and sporting events for coverage in SD, HD, or even 3D. Present in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Australia, GlobeCast is also an expert in international television markets, and works with new and established broadcasters to reach and secure distribution with leading pay-TV operators around the world.