Digital TV Research: “Content Exclusivity Key to MENA Pay-TV Growth”

LONDON: Pay-TV operators in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are increasingly relying on exclusive content rights to gain subscribers, according to a new report from Digital TV Research.

Simon Murray, the author of the fifth edition of the Digital TV Middle East & North Africa Forecasts report, said: “Gaining subscribers in the MENA is no mean feat as piracy remains rampant in most countries. More than half of the region’s homes receive free-to-air satellite TV signals. Furthermore, established pay TV operators now have to compete against new platforms as several IPTV operators put greater emphasis on SVOD than on traditional linear channel packages.”

Even still, the number of pay-TV homes across the 20 countries covered in the report will double between 2010 and 2021 to 20.9 million, with Turkey accounting for 37 percent of the 2021 total. From the 5.4 million pay-TV homes to be added between 2015 and 2021, 1.98 million will come from Turkey, 630,000 from Uzbekistan and 59,000 from Egypt.

Legitimate pay-TV revenues will increase by 82 percent between 2010 and 2021 to $5.02 billion. However, growth will only be 25 percent between 2015 and 2021. Turkey and Israel are expected to contribute 45 percent of the region’s pay-TV revenues in 2021, down from 52 percent in 2015 and 63 percent in 2010. From the $1.028 billion pay-TV revenues to be added between 2015 and 2021, Turkey will supply $206 million, the UAE $141 million and Saudi Arabia $194 million. Revenues in Israel will fall slightly over this period due to greater competition and the conversion of subscribers to bundles (which means lower TV revenues per subscriber).