MENA streaming revenue to reach $1.2bn at end of 2024

Total streaming revenues in the MENA region exceeded $1bn in 2023 and are predicted to rise by a further 13% to more than $1.2bn by the end of this year, according to new research from media analysts Omdia.

Local operators Shahid and StarzPlay are leading streaming growth with the bulk of the market share, says the report.

Shahid, which is part of MBC, leads the MENA streaming video market with 22% of the market share, amounting to 3.6 million subscribers by the end of 2023.

An extensive offering of local Arabic content, “which resonates deeply with regional audiences, especially during Ramadan,” is key in drawing subscribers to the service, says Omdia.

The holy month of Ramadan remains a peak period for engagement with drama providers in the region. Platforms like ADTV and Watch IT saw significant popularity during 2023, catering to the region’s demand for drama content during this time.

StarzPlay follows closely behind Shahid with an 18% market share and 3 million subscribers. Omdia said that StarzPlay has “successfully identified and filled content gaps in the region, bolstering its competitive edge.”

Driving growth for the service is the streaming of exclusive content, with standouts including AMC acquisition The Walking Dead: Dead City, and sports coverage, with StarzPlay having secured exclusive rights to events such as the Cricket Asia Cup in September 2023 and the Six Nations in March 2024.

StarzPlay has also found success with the launch of its AVOD & FAST service, Starz On, which had its soft debut in November 2023, before launching in full in March.

The service features 50 FAST and linear channels, with plans to expand the content offering to more than 25,000 hours and over 100 channels this year.

Speaking at Cabsat 2024 in Dubai last week, Maria Rua Aguete, senior director of media and entertainment at Omdia, highlighted the region’s significant growth potential.

“MENA is a growth area with huge potential. The top three players – Shahid, StarzPlay, and Netflix – each have unique strategies and complementary offerings. In the advertising space, FAST is currently low in this region, but we expect significant growth over the next four years, with global players like Samsung entering the market.”

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