The number of Free to Air (FTA) satellite channels targeting the Arab region continues to grow. The FTA landscape had a major growth of 438% in the number of FTA satellite channels between January 2004 and April 2011. Based on Arab Advisors Group research, by April 2011 the total number of distinct FTA satellite channels reached 538 on Arabsat, Nilesat and Noorsat, an increase of 10.5% over the number of channels recorded in April 2010. The number of the fully launched and operational channels; excluding channels in the test transmission phase, reached 501, up from 448 in April 2010.

A new report, “Satellite TV in the Arab World 2011” was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s Media Strategic Research Service subscribers on 15 June, 2011. This report provides a detailed analysis of the FTA satellite channels targeting the Arab region as of April 2011. The channels are analyzed according to their type, broadcasting language, headquarters (main offices), ownership (state owned, private or mixed ownership) and satellite carriers. The satellite systems included in the analysis are Arabsat, Nilesat and Noorsat; this is due to the fact that the majority of FTA satellite channels targeting the Arab World are aired on one or more of these satellites.

“In line with the liberalization of the audiovisual sectors in the region, the number of private satellite channels exceeds the number of government owned channels. Over two thirds of the operational FTA satellite channels are privately owned.” Mohammed Al Shawwa, Arab Advisors Research Analyst, commented. “In terms of the types of channels, General-Private Sector channels constitute around a fifth of the operational FTA satellite channels followed by the General-Government Sector “, Mr Al Shawwa added.

“A plurality of FTA channels are headquartered in Egypt which hosts 17.6% of the fully launched and operational FTA channels. Saudi Arabia and the UAE follow with percentages of 17.0% and 14.4%, respectively “Ms Dima Abu Rub, Arab Advisors Research Analyst, said.