Martin Freeman as insurance salesman Lester Nygaard in a scene from Fargo, a thriller series that will be available on the new service. Chris Large / AP Photo / FX
Martin Freeman as insurance salesman Lester Nygaard in a scene from Fargo, a thriller series that will be available on the new service. Chris Large / AP Photo / FX

Online movie-streaming platform to launch in the UAE

DUBAI // An online movie provider to rival giants such as Netflix will be launched in the UAE this month.

US company Starz Play is breaking ground in the country by offering subscribers access to more than 3,000 films and series for a Dh50 a month subscription.

With 57 million viewers signed up in the US, the firm hopes the platform, which is already available, will be a hit here.

Its Middle East service, streamed to 17 countries across the region, says 99 per cent of content is uncensored and can be viewed without a Virtual Private Network, or VPN.

VPNs, through which a computer is linked to overseas servers, are necessary for viewing Netflix and other services not yet available in the UAE.

Iron Man 3 and The Hobbit are some of the more recent films offered, and box-set series such as Fargo, Penny Dreadful and Spartacus are also available.

A free month’s trial is offered to new subscribers and there is no contract. Viewers can cancel subscriptions at any time.

Maaz Sheikh, president of Starz Play, said the service was a first for the region.

“Our technology is optimised for this region, so you do not have to use a VPN to view the content,” said Mr Sheikh, who was born in Dubai. “It is designed to work in this area so you can change the language during the film if you want to.”

He said movies that did not make it to UAE cinemas, such as Fifty Shades of Grey, would not be restricted by Starz Play.

“Our content is not exactly the same as the US as content rights here are actually better,” Mr Sheikh said. “There will be very few extreme cases where we might take a version of content in the US that is slightly edited for network television but 99 per cent of our content will be unedited.

“When we are entering such a strong region as this, with so many smartphones and tablets and with no other service like this, we would be foolish not to expect competition to grow. We are preparing for other players to join the market, so we have focused on locking in content on an exclusive basis as much as possible.”

It is hoped that exclusive content will help the platform acquire new subscriptions. Mr Sheikh gave the example of House of Cards, the award-winning political drama starring Kevin Spacey, which has boosted the profile and subscriber numbers of Netflix.

Bloodline is an exclusive Starz Play series about a tight-knit family in Florida that harbours a dark secret, and is expected to be popular.

The platform is available on PCs and Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android-operated systems and other devices, with up to five devices registered for each subscription and the ability to watch on any two at the same time. There are also parental control functions.

“This is the first time a Starz-branded service has been launched outside of the US,” Starz Play chief executive Chris Albrecht said.


Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat

Milestones on the road to union


October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.


March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

Dubai World Cup factbox

Most wins by a trainer: Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor(9)

Most wins by a jockey: Jerry Bailey(4)

Most wins by an owner: Godolphin(9)

Most wins by a horse: Godolphin’s Thunder Snow(2)


For more information, and to enter the race, please visit

Terminator: Dark Fate

Director: Tim Miller

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis 

Rating: 3/5

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Director: Peyton Reed

Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors

Rating: 2/5

The Iron Claw

Director: Sean Durkin 

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James

Rating: 4/5

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

Brief scoreline:

Tottenham 1

Son 78'

Manchester City 0


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

How to avoid getting scammed
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9pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (Dirt) 2,000m
Winner: Mubhir Al Ain, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Ahmed Al Mehairbi (trainer)
9.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh70,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Exciting Days, Oscar Chavez, Doug Watson
10pm: Al Ain Cup – Prestige (PA) Dh100,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Suny Du Loup, Marcelino Rodrigues, Hamad Al Marar
10.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,800m
Winner: Jafar Des Arnets, Oscar Chavez, Ahmed Al Mehairbi
11pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Taj Al Izz, Richard Mullen, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami
11.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Majdy, Antonio Fresu, Jean de Roualle
12am: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Hamloola, Sam Hitchcott, Salem Al Ketbi

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