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ArpuPlus to Revamp its Shofha VOD Platform

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ArpuPlus has announced that it will soon roll out a revamped version of Shofha, video-on-demand platform, with new and better features and technology. The company is also changing Shofha’s logo to go with the platform’s fresh look.

“Since our mission is to make people’s lives much easier, we are going to integrate brand new features and an advanced technology into the platform to transform the video streaming experience of our users. The innovative version of Shofha will be more user friendly and easy to navigate as well.  Additionally, we are changing Shofha’s logo, one of the key aspects of the brand, to make it more modern and relatable to our audience. By revamping the site, we aim to satisfy our customers and provide them with a more pleasant and enjoyable experience while using the platform,” said Medhat Karam, CEO, ArpuPlus. 

Shofha was launched in 2016 to create the ultimate video streaming experience for its users. Presently operating in 10 MENA countries, Shofha has now more than 1.2 million subscribers across the region. The updated version will be packed with new cutting-edge features. It will have an advanced search bar designed to give more accurate results with just one click.

Furthermore, there are more categories to be added to the portal to allow users to have a quicker content navigation. Besides the new categories, a description provided for each content piece will be integrated to give users an overview of what they will watch, thus saving their time and avoiding any hassle. The description includes the year of production, duration, cast, and, if applicable, a brief summary of the plot.

Moreover, Shofha provides a playlist that will appear under each content played for suggestions and recommendations. This customized playlist will display videos relevant to the users’ taste and preference based on their previous choices. “Since we are operating in different countries and serving different nationalities, Shofha will be available in Arabic and English to make it easier for all users to use it in their own preferred language,” said Fadi Doss, Commercial Director, ArpuPlus.   

Shofha is also incorporating the adaptive bitrate streaming with HLS technology into the platform for better performance and faster, more customized service. HLS ensures streaming of high-quality videos for each user by making necessary adjustments in the system to match the available speed of wired or wireless networks. As this technology is simple and flexible, it is designed to accommodate a wide range of mobile devices and network capacities.

HLS will significantly minimize buffering and lagging time as well by detecting the user’s bandwidth and CPU capacity in real time and adjusting the quality of the media stream accordingly. Long-time buffering is also avoided through this technology by removing the need for constant connectivity between Shofha’s server and the client’s device.

“We are excited to launch the new Shofha platform soon. We cannot wait to know our users’ reactions as they try out the new features. We really care about making changes not only to further enhance our users’ experience of Shofha but also to exceed their expectations. Through the new portal, we hope to attract more prospective subscribers in the region as well,” Karam added.  

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Entertainment

Netflix to Start Charging Extra for Password Sharing

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Netflix has always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account, through features such as separate profiles and multiple streams in their Standard and Premium plans. While these have been hugely popular, they have also created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared. As a result, says Netflix, accounts are being shared between households impacting the company’s ability to invest in new TV and films for its members.

So for the last year, the company has been working on ways to enable members who share outside their household to do so easily and securely, while also paying a bit more. And over the next few weeks, Netflix plans to launch and test two new features for its members in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru:

  • Add an Extra Member: Members on Netflix Standard and Premium plans will be able to add sub-accounts for up to two people they don’t live with – each with their own profile, personalised recommendations, login, and password – at a lower price: 2,380 CLP in Chile, 2.99 USD in Costa Rica, and 7.9 PEN in Peru.
  • Transfer Profile to a New Account: Members on Netflix Basic, Standard, and Premium plans can enable people who share their account to transfer profile information either to a new account or an Extra Member sub-account – keeping the viewing history, My List, and personalised recommendations.

“We recognize that people have many entertainment choices, so we want to ensure any new features are flexible and useful for members, whose subscriptions fund all our great TV and films. We’ll be working to understand the utility of these two features for members in these three countries before making changes anywhere else in the world,” the company said in a blog post.

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UAE’s First Off-Road and Adventure Park XQuarry to Open on Feb 5th in Mleiha

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 Thrill-seekers and adventure lovers in the UAE can now look forward to a new address! The XQuarry Off-Road & Adventure Park located around Al Faya Mountain in the Mleiha desert in Sharjah is set to open for the public on February 5th and 6th, 2021 offering off-roading thrill, obstacle races, hikes, and remote- control cars, guaranteeing unbeatable fun, action, and adventure.

XQuarry Adventure Park, UAE’s first Off-Road and Adventure Park caters to off-roaders and adventure -seekers with almost 15km of tracks, 20 custom- build off-roading obstacles, a dedicated obstacle running course, mountain bike trails, a remote-control car area as well as hiking trails

Spread across approximately a million square metres of an old cement quarry, XQuarry offers a range of adventurous and fun activities for people of all ages and fitness levels, featuring Off -Roading, Obstacle Running, Mountain Biking, Hiking and Remote-Controlled Cars.

XQuarry Adventure Park provides the opportunity for all to escape the ordinary, explore thrilling and challenging activities and immerse themselves in a fun-filled day amidst magnificent desert scenario. The focus of the park is to provide outdoor training and education for people to learn and master their skills to act safe and responsible in the outdoors.

The XQuarry Off-Road and Adventure Park have been created in close co-operation and strategic partnership with Mleiha and Sharjah Investment and Development Authority – Shurooq (Sharjah Government). Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) said, “We are happy to partner with XQuarry in launching UAE’s first Off-Road and Adventure Park in Sharjah. Mleiha, home to rich history and landscapes, is already well-known among travellers for the diverse desert experiences. The new adventure park, being first of its kind in the UAE, will provide a set of completely different experiences for off-roading enthusiasts and adventure lovers and will give more reasons to explore Sharjah’s central region.”

Saoud Al Kaabi, Director and Partner, XQuarry Off-Road and Adventure Park said, “I love the silence and tranquility of the desert and mountains especially after busy days on film sets or events. It’s important for me to share the beauty of my home country with other people and especially, get the younger generation out in nature to explore and experience adventures in a safe environment. XQuarry is just a step in that direction.”

Daniel Birkhofer, Managing Partner, XQuarry Off-Road and Adventure Park said, “We want to help people develop their off-roading skills and technical knowledge to make them better drivers. This applies also to the other activities we offer – whether you experience alone, in groups or with one of our guides does not matter, you will improve your skills and experience fun with new adventures. We are happy that our partners, Sharjah Government and Sharjah Investment and Development Agency (Shurooq) have been highly supportive in helping us materialise this venture, without them this project would not be possible.”

THE OFF- ROADERS can find approx. 15km of off-roading tracks requiring different skill levels as well as technical modifications on the vehicle. The tracks mostly made of gravel and rocks and a mud pit, come with several obstacles for added fun and adventure. Since most of the impressive dunes in the Northern Emirates are just outside the park, visitors can take advantage of the opportunity to combine a desert drive with a park visit. Drive experiences with rented 4×4 vehicles at XQuarry will be available in the second phase of the park opening.

OBSTACLE RUNNING at XQuarry is the most amazing and challenging permanent obstacle course in the UAE. Approximately 2km of running distance filled with different obstacles await the adrenaline junkies and if this is not enough, trail and ultra-runners can extend their running distance by including the hiking trails. The obstacles include climbing, jumping, crawling, swinging, balancing and voila, you might even get wet!

MOUNTAIN BIKING (MTB) at XQuarry is the closest mountain cycling trail to the big cities reachable in less than an hour. There are single trails as well as MTB obstacle trail and what’s more, you can extend the trails outside the park which go beyond 10km. Enjoy a fun ride up and down small hills or meander through the steep curves and bumps to add to the thrill and fun. Rental bikes are expected to be available soon.

HIKING TRAILS abound for thrill- seekers and families with breath- taking panoramic views of the desert. Short family-friendly loops are available for beginners, while the more daring hikers can scramble through the rocky hurdles and cliffs to reach the mountain top.

REMOTE – CONTROL CARS (RC) are another highlight of the park with approximately 500m of custom-built RC tracks along with dedicated shaded areas for the operators and spectators to overlook the track. Additionally, there are race tracks with curves and jumps to compete for the fasted lap and those seeking technical challenges can enjoy the RC Obstacle Track which shall be available in near future.

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Full Box Sets and All-Time Favourites Are Available on STARZPLAY

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The entertainment fiesta never stops on STARZPLAY, the leading subscription video on demand (SVOD) service in the MENA region, which continues to provide its million-plus subscribers with premium content. With people spending more time at home now, this is the perfect opportunity to binge-watch your favourite shows. From full box sets of the best shows to the latest must-watch Hollywood blockbusters as well as continuing hit titles, there is something for everyone.

Watch the cult classic sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, which remains a top choice for comedy fans, and especially popular among STARZPLAY subscribers, who had the chance of watching the series finale on the platform at the same time it aired in the US last May. So, it may be time for fans to re-visit their favorite scientist pals (and Penny!) and enjoy all 12 seasons of the Golden Globe and Emmy awards winning series, only on STARZPLAY.

STARZPLAY is also home to the much-loved American sitcom The Office, the mockumentary on a group of typical office workers where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and boredom. Fans can watch all the nine-seasons of the hilarious documentary-style TV series that tells stories about contemporary work culture in the most hysterical way.

Fans of the epic historical drama Vikings can watch every new episode of the sixth and final season of the epic action-adventure, that has turned into a worldwide phenomenon, exclusively on STARZPLAY. And for those who are yet to delve into the show’s fascinating world, all previous 5 seasons are currently available on the platform.

While the world celebrated the 25th anniversary of the launch of Friends last year, the show remains one of the most beloved and popular sitcoms in TV history, STARZPLAY subscribers can binge-watch all ten seasons of the classic comedy through the platform anytime, anywhere and from any device, and share this joyful experience with their own friends.

Fans of the American television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy can watch every new episode of the fifteenth season starting March 28 on STARZPLAY. Watch how surgical interns and their supervisors embark on a medical journey where they become part of heart-wrenching stories and make life-changing decisions in order to become the finest doctors.

Available in 20 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan, with more than 10,000 hours of content including premium movies, exclusive and Arabic series, STARZPLAY has also secured its place as the number one player in the MENA region.

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