MENA pay TV to top 21 million

The number of pay TV homes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will reach 21.3 million in 2020, doubling over the ten-year period from 2010 to 2020, according to new research.

The Digital TV Research report claims that 18% of TV households in the MENA region legitimately paid for TV signals by the end of 2014, with this proportion will climb to 24% by 2020.

Qatar is tipped to have record 72% pay TV penetration by 2020, with Israel just behind at 71%. However, pay TV penetration in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia is expected to remain below 10% of TV households.

Turkey will account for 37% of the region’s total pay TV homes in 2020, according to the study.

“Piracy remains a major problem, despite many efforts to eradicate it,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research. “There are 34.3 million free-to-air satellite TV homes in the Middle East and North Africa sub-regions [excluding Israel, Turkey and Eurasia]. We estimate that at least 10% of these homes also receive pirated premium satellite TV signals. This represents considerable revenue loss to the legitimate players.”

Legitimate pay TV revenues in MENA will grow by 75% between 2010 and 2020 to US$5.63 billion, with Turkey and Israel expected to contribute 51% of the region’s pay TV revenues in 2020 – down from 61% in 2014, according to the report.

Satellite will continue to account for most pay TV revenues in the region, generating US$3.76 billion, or two-thirds of the 2020 total. Turkey, followed by Saudi Arabia will contribute the most towards these revenues.

Pay satellite TV penetration is expected to climb from 6.9% in 2010 to 11.8% in 2020, with subscriber numbers doubling from 5.01 million to 10.32 million.

“Pay satellite TV has grown due mainly to the expansion of OSN and beIN Sports. We estimate that OSN had 1.162 million residential satellite subscribers [excluding non-residential satellite subscribers and subscribers to non-satellite platforms] at end-2014, with beIN Sports providing a further 819,000,” said Murray.

Digital TV Research predicts there will be 6.16 million legitimate IPTV subscribers across the MENA region by 2020 – triple the 2014 total.