The History of Television in Oman
The history of television in Oman can be traced back to the early 1970s when the government of Oman established the Oman Broadcasting Company (OBC). Television sets were expensive, and only a few wealthy families could afford them at the time. The number of television sets in Oman significantly increased in the 1980s, which increased content. Most broadcasts were in Arabic, and the programming was limited to news, religious programs, and cultural events.
The government eventually launched new channels with English-language programming to accommodate the expanding ex-pat population. The OBC was split into two channels, news, and entertainment, to offer more curated programs.
With the introduction of satellite television in the 1990s, Oman's television industry underwent a dramatic transformation. As a result, the number of channels increased dramatically, providing viewers access to hundreds of channels worldwide. The OBC also expanded its instructional and documentary programming and launched a third channel dedicated to sports.
In Oman, television reached its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s when new channels and an increase in popular content, including talk and game shows, helped viewers feel more connected to one another by giving the public a forum to discuss social and political issues.
The growth of the state-run television network Oman Broadcasting Corporation (OBC) during this time was another important development. Also, the government made significant investments in the OBC's technological infrastructure, improving the broadcast quality.
Throughout this period, Oman also witnessed a boom in homegrown talent in the television sector. The government trained young Omanis in television production and journalism, creating a new generation of producers, directors, and journalists.
Traditional TV in Oman lost viewers in the 2000s as streaming services, and video-on-demand platforms gained popularity. The government implemented digital television to improve picture quality and channel selection. The OBC also launched its online station access platform.
Most Popular Television Shows:
Together with other popular programs, the following shows set benchmarks for Arab television production and programming and remain an important part of Oman’s cultural and television history.
Sah Al-Noum – A talk show aired on the OBC and hosted by journalist and media personality - Abdullah Al-Harthi. The show featured discussions on a range of social and political issues, and it became one of the most popular talk shows in Oman.
Al-Huwara – A comedy show aired on the OBC featuring young Omani comedians performing skits and sketches that reflected Oman's culture and traditions. The show was top-rated among youngsters and helped launch several comedians' careers.
Tariq Al-Siyadah – A drama series that aired on the OBC, starring the famous Omani actor Salim Al-Mahrouqi. The series tells the story of a young man who joined the police force and became a detective.
Al-Sayyida Al-Houra – A historical drama series aired on the OBC, telling the story of a powerful and influential Omani woman who lived during the 19th century. The series was praised for its accuracy and attention to detail and became a cultural phenomenon in Oman.
Khawater – A travel show aired on MBC, hosted by the popular Saudi Arabian media personality Ahmad Al-Shugairi. The show featured Al-Shugairi traveling around the world and exploring different cultures and traditions, and it became one of the most-watched shows in the Arab world.
Bait Al-Fan – A music show aired on the OBC, featuring traditional Omani music and performances by local musicians. The show helped to promote Omani music and culture and was very popular among viewers.
Tarab Al Arab – A music show aired on MBC featuring performances by famous Arab singers and musicians. The show helped to popularize Arab music and showcased the diversity of musical traditions in the Arab world.
Studio Al-Fan – A music show aired on the OBC, featuring performances by famous Arab and international musicians. The show helped to promote musical exchange and collaboration between Oman and the wider world.
Hawa Beirut – A music show aired on LBC, featuring performances by Lebanese and Arab singers and musicians. The show helped to showcase the vibrant music scene in Lebanon and the wider Arab world.
Al-Rasa'il – A cultural show featuring interviews with prominent Omani intellectuals, writers, and artists. The show helped to promote intellectual discourse and critical thinking in Oman and became a forum for exchanging ideas and opinions.
Al-Nadeem – A current affairs show featuring investigative reporting and in-depth analysis of social and political issues in Oman and the wider region. The show was one of the first in the Arab world and became a model for other current affairs programs.
Al-Majlis Al-Oman – A talk show aired on the OBC, featuring discussions on various topics related to Omani culture, history, and society. The show became a platform for Omani intellectuals and scholars to discuss and explore the country's heritage and identity.
Al-Fursan Al-Thalathah – A drama series about three Omani brothers joining the military and becoming heroes. The series was notable for its high production values and portrayal of the Omani military and national identity.
Jassim Al-Riyami – A game show featuring a famous Omani quizmaster who tested contestants’ knowledge of various topics, from sports and politics to history and geography. The show became a cultural phenomenon in Oman and helped to popularize quiz shows in the Arab world.
Private and Semi-Private TV Channels in Oman:
Oman TV Live – Television channel offering a mix of news, current affairs, and entertainment programming. The channel is known for its focus on local and regional issues.
Al Roya TV – A privately-owned news and current affairs channel that offers 24-hour coverage of local and international news. The channel is known for its in-depth reporting and analysis of social and political issues in Oman and the wider region.
Mazoon TV – A privately-owned general entertainment channel that offers a mix of programming, including drama series, talk shows, and game shows. The channel is known for its family-friendly content and its focus on Omani culture and traditions.
Oman Sports TV – A sports channel that offers coverage of local and international sports events. The channel is known for its live coverage of football matches.
Oman Living TV – A lifestyle channel that offers programming related to health, beauty, fashion, and travel. The channel is known for its high-quality production values and focus on promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Oman TV Satellite – Offers news, current affairs, and entertainment programming.
Oman TV Cultural – Focuses on cultural and educational programming. The channel offers a mix of documentaries, music, and drama series, focusing on Omani heritage and traditions.
Oman TV Sport – The channel is known for its live coverage of football matches and other sports events and its analysis and commentary on sports-related issues.
Oman TV Youth – Focuses on programming for young people. The channel offers a mix of music, drama series, and talk shows focusing on youth culture and trends.
Oman TV Parliament – Covers the proceedings of the Majlis Al Shura, Oman's elected consultative assembly. The channel offers live coverage of parliamentary sessions and debates, as well as interviews with members of parliament and other political figures.
Dish & Cable TV Channels in Oman:
Viewers in Oman have access to a wider variety of international programming. These channels have become popular as global content demand has increased and satellite and cable technology availability has expanded. The following are some of the most popular cable and satellite channels in Oman:
OSN – A premium pay-tv network that offers a range of international channels, including movies, series, sports, and kids' channels. OSN offers English and Arabic content, focusing on the latest Hollywood releases and popular TV series.
beIN Sports – A leading sports channel that offers coverage of local and international sports events.
STAR World – STAR World is an English-language entertainment channel offering various popular TV series and reality shows. The channel is known for its high-quality American programming.
MTV Arabia – A youth-oriented channel offering music, reality shows, and entertainment programming. The channel is known for its edgy and innovative programming, focusing on the latest music and youth culture trends.
Oman TV – The national television network of Oman is owned by the Oman Broadcasting Authority. The network offers a mix of programming in Arabic and English, including news, current affairs, entertainment, and cultural programming. Oman TV operates several channels, including Oman TV General, Oman TV Sports, and Oman TV Cultural.
Dubai TV – A popular Arabic-language channel based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The channel offers a mix of programming, including news, current affairs, entertainment, and sports.
MBC Group – A leading media company in the Middle East that operates several television channels, including MBC1, MBC2, MBC3, and MBC4. The channels offer a mix of programming in Arabic and other languages, including movies, TV series, news, and sports.
Al Jazeera Arabic – Al Jazeera Arabic is a Qatar-based news channel that offers 24-hour news coverage in Arabic. The channel is known for its comprehensive range of regional and international news and its focus on investigative journalism.
These are just a few of the major television channels operating in Oman. The country's media landscape constantly evolves, and new channels are being launched regularly to cater to viewers' changing needs and preferences.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in Oman oversees television regulations (TRA). In Oman, the TRA is in charge of policing the telecommunications industry, which also covers the television business. In Oman, the TRA is in charge of policing the telecommunications industry, which also covers the television business.
In 2002, a royal decree created the TRA, an impartial regulatory organization. Its primary duties include giving licenses to telecom service providers, establishing industry policies and regulations, and ensuring they are followed.
The licensing and operation of television channels in Oman are subject to TRA regulation in the context of the television sector. The authority grants TV channels licenses and establishes requirements for their operation, including technical and content standards.
By guaranteeing equitable access to broadcast infrastructure and encouraging the development of new technologies and services, the TRA also plays a significant role in fostering competition in the television sector. Overall, the TRA is a powerful regulatory body essential to guaranteeing the expansion and development of the television industry in Oman, safeguarding audience interests, and fostering healthy competition in the market.