Research: Arab pay TV prospering

Research and analysis by the Arab Advisors Group reveals that as of September 2010 the three main Satellite pay TV operators in the region offered a combined total of 124 channels.

There are five satellite Pay TV providers that cater to the Arab region; Namely: Arab Television and Radio Network (ART), Orbit Showtime Network (OSN), Al Jazeera Sports, Abu Dhabi Sports and Majd. The Arab Radio and Television Network (ART) was the first to be established in 1993. Moreover, in July 2009, Showtime Arabia and Orbit Group, two major Pay TV providers in the Arab World, announced the merger of their Pay-TV operations. The newly formed company is owned by “Panther Media Group Ltd”, a company registered in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Al Jazeera Sports + is part of Al Jazeera Network, which is headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Since its launch in 1996, Al Jazeera was keen to expand its channels’ content into sports.

By September 2010, ART, OSN (Orbit Showtime Network) and Al Jazeera offered 124 Pay TV channels. OSN has the highest number with 82 channels (including the 3 pay-per-view channels), ART came in second with 24 channels and Al Jazeera Sports provides 15 channels dedicated for all sorts of sports events.”

“Despite the promotions of Pay TV operators, most of the Arab World remains tuned to free-to-air satellite TV channels. Economically, many viewers seem to favour the free content of FTA channels rather than paying for TV content,” Alaa Numair, Arab Advisors Group senior analyst, commented.