Michelle Clancy | 13-08-2013
Connected TV is rapidly evolving in the Middle East and North Africa, with providers, broadcasters and manufacturers such as STC, Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) and Samsung already offering consumers increased access to content through smart devices, according to Informa Telecoms & Media.
The number of connected devices, particularly tablets, is fueling demand for OTT, cloud and multiscreen services in MENA, and is expected to dramatically increase over the next five years. Informa said that 6.5 million tablets were sold across the Middle East and Africa in 2012. That figure is forecast to increase to a staggering 32.1 million in 2016.
"The OTT content and services landscape across MENA has traditionally been rather barren, but the situation is changing quickly with OTT start-ups starting to emerge, and the number of rival operator initiatives increasing," said Michael Dean, research analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.
Meanwhile, mobile broadband may currently be in the nascent stages across much of the region but it is increasingly becoming a greater growth area for rural Internet users in many MENA markets.
"In addition, the Gulf Cooperation Council is scheduling to have LTE networks in place by end-2013, meaning there will be a further rise in mobile data usage," Dean said. "This will undoubtedly place more demand on increased content delivery. Saudi Arabia and the UAE alone already have traditionally high levels of TV content consumption."
For example, according to OSN, the average household watches six to seven hours of TV content per day.
"Bringing online entertainment to the biggest screen at home is inevitable," said Hadi Raad, head of marketing for emerging Arabia at Google, which is making a big broadband push in the region. "I'm thrilled with all the developments making consumer experience rich and ubiquitous."