OSN+ has held its own even in a video streaming landscape featuring Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+. Will the Anghami deal now deliver a hit? Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Two of the Arab world’s biggest names in streaming are coming together – but can OSN+ and Anghami deliver an outright win-win and create a true Middle East entertainment industry powerhouse?

On the face of it, there is everything in it by coming together, and with zero overlaps. OSN+ has built its brand around delivering prime Hollywood and TV shows as soon as they are ready for video-on-demand services. In recent years, OSN+ has managed to hold its niche even with a full-blown battle for viewers rages, led by the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+.

With Anghami, it’s about music streaming, and Arabic content in particular, which has helped with creating and retaining a core audience. Even with a rampant Spotify around…

This is exactly why OSN+ and Anghami hope to build on by coming together. “The (streaming) market (in the Middle East) is still growing double-digits,” said Joe Kawkabani, CEO of OSN. “Some markets are more mature than others, with faster and cheaper data plans. We see a big opportunity across not only in the Gulf but North Africa and the Levant.

“We are focused on concluding this transaction, which will give OSN a majority stake in Anghami and bring together over 120 million registered users, more than 2.5 million paying subscribers with over $100 million in revenue at closing.

“(And) transforming Anghami Inc. into one of the region’s largest streaming platforms.”

The '2.5m subscriber' clout

The 2.5 million in paying subscribers is where the deal will get its juice from. Not just that, Anghami's catalogue lists more than 100 million songs, while OSN+ gives subscribers access to 18,000 hours and more of video content. 

By being able to offer video and audio content, the two brands can create customised packages for subscribers – and by extension, have a firmer grip on their loyalty.

“Our focus now will be on integrating OSN+ video offerings within our ecosystem, through building a robust tech infrastructure,” is how Elie Habib, co-founder of Anghami sees it. He will also be CEO of the combined business entity.

This will create ‘cross-promotion opportunities across our combined substantial user base granting them access to a huge catalogue of exclusive music, podcasts and premium video,” he added.

“With customer-centricity at the core, we are committed to offering the best product and content experience in the region, creating a seamless experience and hyper personalization that prioritizes user preferences and recommendation.”

What the OSN+-Anghami deal will look like
OSN Group will invest in Anghami at a valuation of $3.65 a share, which is 3.9x the Nasdaq-listed stock’s average price in the past month. Anghami 'intends to maintain the listing' on Nasdaq after the transaction, expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

OSN Group's cash investment will total up to $50 million.

Creating a new structure

Once all the deal milestones are done, a ‘new team structure’ will come into being at the combined entity.

On whether there might be job losses involved as part of the transition, Kawkabani said: “We have very ambitious plans, which means we need all the talent we can get to deliver on this. There is fantastic talent within both OSN+ and Anghami. We’ve not gone into the details yet of what the new structure looks like.

“We will keep our offices targeting different markets.”

What happens to OSN Group

It’s the video-on-demand entity OSN+ that’s coming into the equation with Anghami. The wider OSN Group will continue with its legacy linear TV business (OSNtv) and with Kawkabani as Group CEO.

This means it will have two divisions, with the Anghami Inc. side focused on streaming and ‘OSNtv side aggregating all entertainment in one place’.

Anghami's no stranger to deal making
In the recent past, Anghami went through a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) deal and which then led the way to a Nasdaq listing.

At the time, Anghami's founders had looked at the possibility of creating add-on opportunities on top of the music streaming.

"Anghami did focus on diversifying their business by the launch of Anghami Studios (our songs and podcasts production arm), Anghami Spotlight (our concerts productions arm), Anghami Lab (a live music performance rooftop bar and lounge in Riyadh), and Anghami Vibe, (a joint music label with Sony)," said Elie Habib.

"While we will continue to build on what we started, our focus now will be on integrating OSN+ video offerings within our ecosystem..."

More to follow...