A New Streaming Platform Gathers Steam To Enter Pakistani Market

Begin.Watch snaps up Brainchild's Benish Irshad as new COO to oversee product development and licensee relationships

A New Streaming Platform Gathers Steam To Enter Pakistani Market

A new over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform called Begin.Watch is getting ready to enter Pakistan and the wider MENAPT region. The platform, which is still under development, announced a major step towards its launch later this year with a massive resource acquisition on Wednesday.

Begin.Watch, a subscriber/transactional video on demand OTT platform and a subsidiary of the technology company MHL, announced in a statement on Wednesday that it has appointed Benish Irshad as its chief operating officer (COO).

Irshad joins Begin.Watch from one of Pakistan's largest media agencies, Brainchild, where she served as the COO for three years. She has vast experience in Pakistan's media investment management industry, marketing, and advertising landscape, having launched and run Publicis Media in Pakistan. Publicis arrived in Pakistan with a bang after winning Nestle's $19 million contract.

At Begin.Watch, Irshad will oversee product development and licensee relationships as the OTT platform prepares for launch and ties up content licences.

The platform currently hinges on sports and entertainment streaming.

On the sporting side, Begin.Watch has already tied up streaming deals with the Professional Golfers Association, the Saudi Premier League, and All Elite Wrestling for the MENAPT region. The platform plans to stream HBL PSL and is in talks with Grand Slam tournaments, F1 racing, soccer, and volleyball leagues for legal and licensed streaming deals.

On the entertainment side, the platform hopes to stream blockbuster movies and popular series from Warner Brothers Discovery, Sony Pictures, and NBC Universal. 

To diversify and further populate content on the platform, Begin.Watch is working to acquire rights to stream content across sports and entertainment in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Irshad will face challenges in tying up licences for existing content of interest to users and navigating the world of programming and original content across the diverse MENAPT region. She will also have to tackle competition in Pakistan and across the region.

According to its annual State of Apps report by Data Darbar, in 2023, Pakistanis spent over $61 million on the app store and consumed an average of 7.8GB worth of data per user. Per the latest report, the top streaming apps of 2023 were Tamasha, with 11.7 million monthly-average users (MAU), Netflix, with 2.9 million MAU, Amazon Prime, with 1.36 million MAU, MyCo, with 1.33 million MAU, and Tapmad, with 830,000 MAU.

Backed by venture accelerator Z2C Limited, MHL is a technology company building the rails for a transparent media supply chain. Begin.Watch represents the first business-to-consumer (B2C) venture, which is directly backed by Z2C Limited. Both Pakistan Super League (PSL) and Coke Studio are indirectly backed through specialist advertising agencies. The platform is expected to launch later this year.