Warner Music Announces Strategic Initiatives in Middle East and North Africa
Orascom Telecom to Make Warner Music Mobile Products Available to Over 50 Million Subscribers; Broader Co-operation With O-Media Holdings Planned>BARCELONA, SPAIN, Feb 14, 2007 -- Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) today announced a strategic partnership that will see the company significantly extend its presence in a number of regions including the Middle East and North Africa. In an agreement unveiled today, the company will work with international telecommunications company Orascom Telecom (PINKSHEETS: ORSTF) to deliver music-based content and services to consumers in a variety of innovative ways.
Under the agreement, mobile music products from Warner Music will be distributed via ARPU+, a content provider and subsidiary of Orascom Telecom, to a network of 39 telecommunication operators in countries including Algeria, Bangladesh, Italy, Pakistan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
In a separate initiative, Warner Music and O-Media Holdings agree to pursue a broader co-operation that would focus on exploring exciting new ways of connecting with music fans across the region and supporting the vibrant local music cultures of the MENA nations. O-Media Holdings spans TV, radio, music publishing, distribution, artist management, booking, magazine publishing, advertising and creative services, as well as new media services such as MobileTV, and internet-based video services, among others.
Edgar Bronfman Jr, Chairman and CEO, WMG, said, "The entertainment landscape in this region is undergoing an extraordinary change as consumers embrace the power of mobile technology, so I am delighted to be working with Orascom Telecom who are a driving force in that transformation. Their scale, ambition and commitment to promoting legitimate, pan-regional mobile music services make them the ideal partner for us as we develop our presence in the Middle East and North Africa."
He added, "We look forward to working closely with O-Media Holdings to pioneer ways for consumers to experience and enjoy music-based content from international and local artists in the future."
Naguib Sawiris, Chairman and CEO, Orascom Telecom and O-Media Holdings, said, "We are very excited to be the first operator in our region to understand the value of music and its impact on people. As we can see, mobile devices are becoming the gateway to happiness!"
Orascom Telecom has an impressive track record of innovation, consistently growing its subscriber base through its unrivalled understanding of the markets in which it operates and its commitment to delivering accessible, quality services to its customers. ARPU+ will aggregate, sell and distribute official WMI mobile content throughout its network. Products will include MIDI ringtones, mastertones, ringback tones, video tones, wallpapers and full track downloads.
ARPU+ offers its services through mobile as well as fixed telephone networks, developing and managing a number of WAP portals for mobile operators. It also offers a wide array of services ranging from mobile entertainment -- games, ringtones, polyphonic, monophonic and true tones, as well as animated jokes, greeting cards and video clips -- to infotainment -- including news, sports, city guides and financial news. Furthermore, ARPU+ offers community applications, such as chatting and messaging. All of these are available alongside the interactive SMS2TV and radio services, where audiences and listeners can vote and interact with live and recorded programmes.
O-Media Holdings, formed in 2002 with operations in Egypt, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan among others, offers a comprehensive media and entertainment portfolio designed to appeal to the growing youth community in its area of coverage.
These agreements are the latest in a series of alliances with leading local and regional partners whereby Warner Music is pursuing the expansion of its global distribution footprint. In 2006, the company unveiled strategic partnerships that helped it to reach new audiences around the world, including Russia, China, and Latin America. Warner Music also formed joint ventures with SK Telecom in South Korea and with Gallo Music in South Africa.
About Orascom Telecom
Orascom Telecom is a leading international telecommunications company operating GSM networks in seven high growth markets in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, having a total population under license of approximately 460 million with an average mobile telephony penetration of approximately 22% as at 30 September 2006. Orascom Telecom operates GSM networks in Algeria ("Djezzy"), Pakistan ("Mobilink"), Egypt ("Mobinil"), Tunisia ("Tunisiana"), Iraq ("Iraqna"), Bangladesh ("Banglalink"), and Zimbabwe ("Telecel Zimbabwe"). Orascom Telecom had over 50 million subscribers as at December 2006. Orascom Telecom owns 19.3% of Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited, a leading Telecommunication services provider operating in eight countries. Orascom Telecom is traded on the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchange under the symbol (ORTE.CA, ORAT EY), and on the London Stock Exchange its GDR is traded under the symbol (ORTEq.L, OTLD LI).
About Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group became the only stand-alone music company to be publicly traded in the United States in May 2005. With its broad roster of new stars and legendary artists, Warner Music Group is home to a collection of the best-known record labels in the music industry including Asylum, Atlantic, Bad Boy, Cordless, East West, Elektra, Lava, Maverick, Nonesuch, Perfect Game, Reprise, Rhino, Roadrunner, Rykodisc, Sire, Warner Bros. and Word. Warner Music International, a leading company in national and international repertoire, operates through numerous international affiliates and licensees in more than 50 countries. Warner Music Group also includes Warner/Chappell Music, one of the world's leading music publishers.
For more information about Warner Music Group, visit our corporate website at www.wmg.com