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Exclusive content ‘key for MENA pay TV’

Owning exclusive content is becoming the critical factor in driving pay TV subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a new report.

Research and Markets’s Digital TV Middle East and North Africa Forecasts report singled out emergent player beIN as one platform using exclusive shows and films to grow its subscription base “in a short period of time”.

beIN Media Group spun out of Al Jazeera Media Network at the end of 2013, and has become a key player in sports and entertainment rights since, shaking up the MENA market.

Pay platforms across 20 territories in the MENA region will double their subs bases between 2010 and 2021 to 20.9 million, the report predicted.

Turkey will account for 37% of the 2021 total, with 1.98 million coming from the territory in the six years prior. Five point four million subs will be added in the period, with 630,000 coming from Uzbekistan and 590,000 from Egypt.

Turkey will also supply US$206 million of the US$1.03 billion in pay TV revenues added between 2015 and 2021, with the UAE contributing US$141 million and Saudi Arabia US$194 million. Israeli revenues will fall slightly due to more competition and subscribers converting to bundles that lower pay TV takings.

Research and Markets reported around a fifth of TV homes legitimately paid for TV signals at the end of 2015, and forecasted this would climb to about 24.2% in 2021. Qatar will record 80% pay TV penetration at that point, with Georgia (69%), Israel (68%) and the UAE (62%) following.

However, penetration in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia will remain under 10%.

Legitimate pay TV revenues are expected to climb 82% in the eleven years to 2021, taking sales pay to US$5.02 billion. Turkey and Israel will contribute 45% of regional pay TV revenues, down from 52% in 2015 and 63% in 2010.