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MENA’s piracy-affected pay TV platforms faces tepid growth

The number of pay TV subscribers across MENA is set to rise over the next five years, according to new Digital TV Research (DTVR) data. But progress continues to be severely hampered by widespread piracy and competition from SVOD.

According to DTVR, pay TV subs will increase from 17.32 million in 2022 to 19.2 million in 2028. However, legitimate pay TV penetration will remain at only 19%. Also troubling for operators is DTVR’s forecast that “Pay TV revenues will fall by 36% between peak year 2016 ($3.84 billion) and 2028 ($2.47 billion). This comes despite the number of pay TV subscribers growing – which means that ARPUs are falling”.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Legitimate pay TV penetration will remain low in MENA. First was the battle against widespread piracy. Traditional pay TV subscribers are now converting to SVOD platforms.”

While pay TV battles to grow, there was perhaps more encouragement for companies looking to ad-supported VOD and FAST opportunities in the MENA region. According to DTVR: “About 62% of the region’s TV households will receive free-to-air satellite TV signals by 2028. FTA satellite penetration is highest in the Arabic-speaking countries. Another fifth of the region’s TV households will take FTA DTT”.

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