Internet ‘transforming traditional TV viewing’ in MENA

Starz Play 7 Day TrialThe boom in smartphone and internet penetration is transforming traditional TV viewing patterns in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to Frost & Sullivan.

The business consulting firm’s research described a “vast, fertile market for over-the-top (OTT) video services” that has sprung up in the MENA region and said that the presence of a large, young population is attracting significant investment in this space.

“Competition is heating up in the market as key participants are figuring out the best-fit revenue models,” said Frost & Sullivan Digital Transformation research analyst, Aafia Bathool.

Research director Vidya Nath added: “Currently there are 75 million viewers with only 2.3 million paying subscribers throughout the region, indicating a slow conversion of registered to paid viewers. However, this could potentially grow to 20 million by 2020.”

Frost & Sullivan estimates that the overall market has an opportunity to grow to 265 million viewers by 2020 and claimed that the onus is on local players like Starz Play, beIN Sports Connect, MBC Shahid, OSN Go and Icflix to consolidate their market positions against international players like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

“The escalating demand from a tech-savvy population for quality international and exclusive Arabic content is encouraging OTT video service providers to stream videos and other big-ticket events, such as live sports, online,” said Bathool.