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MENA pay TV revenues drop by 14% since 2016, research suggests

Pay TV revenues in the Middle East and North Africa region have fallen by 14% since 2016, according to a new study by Digital TV Research.

Revenues for the 20 MENA countries fell to $2.74bn in 2020 and are forecasted to continue to lower slowly, decreasing to $2.52bn by 2026, representing a 23% drop in a decade.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, revealed that by 2026 just five of those 20 countries willl contribute 78% of the region’s pay TV revenues.

“Turkey and Israel together will supply nearly half of the total,” he said. “There are few winners. Eight of the 20 countries will lose revenues between 2020 and 2026.”

Turkish pay TV revenues are also set to reach $752m by 2026; 17% lower than the peak year of 2016. However, the number of pay TV subscribers will grow from 7.27 million in 2020 to 7.64 million in 2026.

The study also predicted that Israel will lose 28% of its pay TV subs between 2020 to 2026 due to cord cutting. “We forecast that Israel’s pay TV revenues will halve between 2016 and 2026. Beyond these figures, Israel’s OTT sector will grow significantly.”

Meanwhile, revenues in the 13 Arabic-speaking countries will remain at about $1bn despite subscriber numbers increasing by 18% to 4 million.

The research comes as several MENA-based operators make heavy investments in streaming, most notably Saudi Arabia’s MBC Group, which has spent extensively on SVOD Shahid VIP and new programming such as Rashash from Hustle creator Tony Jordan.