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‘Culturally sensitive’: streaming platform TOD talks principles, entertainment and local talent

Doha News had the chance to interview TOD’s VP of Marketing and Sales, John Paul Mckerlie, to speak to him about the streaming service platform.

Launched in March 2022, TOD is a subscription-based platform that delivers its subscribers exclusive access to beIN Sports live sports content, and 35,000+ hours of premium entertainment content.

Here’s everything you need to know about the emerging and versatile streaming service.

  1. What can subscribers get from TOD that they cannot access on other streaming services?

MENA viewers are avid sports enthusiasts, particularly when it comes to football, basketball, and tennis. The region comprises of numerous nationalities and language preferences, and avid supporters who follow several football clubs.

We satisfy this by offering subscribers live and downloadable streaming from an array of matches across major leagues including UEFA Champions League, Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Turkish Super Lig, Europa League, NBA, ONE Championship, Davis Cup, ATP Tour and all four Grand Slams for which we hold exclusive streaming rights for MENA.  

For movie and TV fans, our content includes several Arabic, Turkish and international blockbusters from industry leaders such as HBO Max, Miramax, Digiturk, and Sony Pictures Entertainment.  

With 40+ channels and over 40,000 hours of compelling entertainment in English, Arabic and French without adverts or interruptions, our content is curated to satisfy the preferences of viewers across the MENA region, no matter how old they are. This combined with an extraordinary user experience, multi-device viewing and personalisation offers positions TOD as a compelling OTT platform. 

2. What challenges does the industry face right now and how are you tackling them?

The industry currently operates a one-size-fits-all approach, whereas at TOD, our goal is to be a legacy product of, and specifically for, the MENA region – one that respects its cultural ethos while celebrating its multiculturalism. We believe that to stand out as an OTT platform, we should be a combination of an excellent content library that includes both sports and entertainment, as well as offer viewers an intuitive user experience. 

With technology being implemented across all levels, entertainment on-the-go is the next big thing. TOD is already addressing this by providing quality, yet affordable, sports and entertainment streaming to the nearest screens of a user’s choice.  When it comes to our sports offering, we always look to improve viewer engagement with interactive match timelines, highlights, and match specific insights. 

3. How do you work on promoting Arab talent?

We have our very own TOD Originals that features series and talent from the region and looks to be inclusive of all within MENA. Our Arabic Originals have talent from the Gulf, the Levant and North Africa, and we plan to expand this further.

Every year, we will add new Originals titles, which will evolve to be a premium platform featuring Arabic culture, talent and storytellers. 

4. How do you make your platform family/children friendly?

We operate within a culturally sensitive, family-oriented region and we recognise concerns parents may have regarding suitability of children’s content. That is why we have a parental pin code which allows parents to safeguard their kids’ viewing habits.

Our subscribers have access to a wide variety of culturally appropriate educational, moral, linguistic, Islamic, scientific, and entertainment content which are great for family viewing especially with Ramadan around the corner. Our Arabic series in particular help teach children the values and importance of their mother tongue, while strengthening their love and appreciation of the region’s rich tradition and culture. 

5. The industry is constantly changing, how do you adapt to such rapid change?

TOD invests heavily in latest technologies and will continue to do so to deliver a premium viewing experience. We are constantly improving on unique features such as interactive timelines, live stats and instant access to highlights and replay. As a video platform, we generate a huge amount of data. To interpret and leverage it we deploy cloud based, and machine learning capabilities and deliver overall business efficiency and a great experience for our users.

6. You cater to not just entertainment, but also sports. What’s your bigger audience especially with Ramadan just a few weeks away?

TOD has a healthy mix of sports and entertainment. MENA audience loves sports, and the month of Ramadan has some great football, tennis, rugby, and basketball fixtures available on TOD among other sporting events.

We believe conversations around live streaming of Champions League, ATP, AFCON, Premier League, Bundesliga, will be a great way to celebrate the month with one’s family or friends.

Sports acts a unifying force, and our offerings include major international leagues & competitions, interactive timelines throughout the month of Ramadan. Having said that, TOD also has a vivid selection of regional content in terms of TOD Originals & exclusive TV Series, sports docuseries, local & international shows and films – all of which positions us as a family-focused platform offering something for everyone.

We will continue with our family-oriented approach to ensure subscribers in any household always have something exciting to stream especially during the Holy month of Ramadan.