Middle Eastern Video Revenues to Reach $2 Billion by 2025


Video industry revenues from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will reach $2 billion by 2025, led by online video, according to new data from Media Partners Asia (MPA).

GCC Video & Broadband Distribution 2020 explores the free, pay and online video industries in six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. It found that video industry revenues in the region will drop to $1.6 billion this year, a 13 percent year-on-year contraction due to falls in TV advertising and subscriptions, while online revenues are on the rise.

A rebound is projected for 2022, the report says, but the TV industry will continue to face challenges as the OTT landscape becomes more crowded. By 2025, online video will account for more than 60 percent of total video revenues.

Aravind Venugopal, VP at MPA, commented, “The GCC’s vibrant and highly competitive video ecosystem has seen some significant changes in the past few years. Online video services continue to grow, driven by low-cost pricing; telco partnerships, including hard bundles; and the availability of premium local and global content online, including increased investment into exclusive originals. Telco partnerships are revenue accretive and help to broaden the customer funnel but the longer-term success of OTT platforms will rest on their ability to retain customers, manage subscriber acquisition costs (SAC) and increase lifetime value (LTV). Over the next five years, the focus will move to the acquisition of high LTV subscribers via D2C. Market consolidation is also likely as the GCC region will be unable to support 15-plus platforms with many competing in the same customer segments. New entrants into the market such as Disney+ Hotstar and HBO Max could provide further impetus to industry growth, competitive intensity and consolidation.”

Pay TV is on the decline, Venugopal adds, due to the low pace of innovation by operators, high prices and increased broadband availability.

There are three key business models at play across the region: freemium, led by Shahid, Viu and Weyyak; subscription, with a crowded landscape that includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, STARZPLAY, Jawwy TV, Watch iT and OSN Streaming; and AVOD. The region has seen the launch of several hyper-targeted services in the last few years, such as those targeting the region’s South Asian population. Investment in Arabic originals is expected to be another key trend in the coming years.