MENA Pay-TV Revenues Slip


Pay-TV revenues in the Middle East and North Africa are on the decline following the Saudi-led ban on Qatar-based beIN Media Group, rampant piracy and falling ARPUs, according to Digital TV Research.

Pay-TV revenues from 20 countries in the region slipped to just under $3 billion last year, an 11-percent decline since 2016. Even by 2024, the market won’t have recovered, with Digital TV Research projecting revenues of $3.28 billion.

In the 13 Arabic-speaking markets, revenues were down 16 percent to $1.1 billion, but are forecast to rise to $1.4 billion in 2024. In Turkey and Israel, meanwhile, which will account for almost half of the region’s pay-TV revenues by 2024, OTT competition is taking a toll on the pay-TV sector. Israel will lose 10 percent of its pay-TV subscribers between 2014 and 2024. Subs will grow in Turkey but revenues are expected to fall, reaching $910 million in 2024.

beIN lost 464,000 subscribers in the forecast period, taking its total down to 525,000. beIN is expected to have 1.4 million subscribers by 2024.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, commented, “Pay TV in the MENA region has been hit by a Saudi-led ban on the sale of Qatar-backed beIN decoders and subscriptions since mid-2017. The ban has been compounded by BeoutQ, an illegal platform that retransmits some of beIN’s content especially its exclusive sports rights. The region is no stranger to piracy, but the sophistication of the BeoutQ operation is beyond anything seen before. beIN is fiercely protesting BeoutQ, with the support of major content owners, especially sports federations. We believe that the situation will be resolved in 2019; given the international pressure to drop the ban and to close BeoutQ.”