CABSAT 2014: pay-TV players to drive MENA TV everywhere

Joseph O'Halloran | 11-03-2014

The Middle East (ME) is optimal for growth of multiscreen video distribution and TV everywhere in the region is set to accelerate as over-the-top pay-TV is expected to grow at a CAGR of 60% says analyst Frost & Sullivan.

According to its research, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will be linked through 545 million consumer connected devices by 2020, impacting business models and personal lives in a way that the analyst says is “unforeseeable” today.

Even though Frost & Sullivan notes that linear pay-TV services contribute dominantly to revenue and viewership of video in the region, it adds that there is growing evidence that consumers increasingly watch content on video-capable Internet-connected devices. Eventually, it believes that as the time spent online approaches the time spent on watching TV, content creators are seeking ways to distribute the content to multiple platforms.

In its research Frost & Sullivan observed that YouTube currently dominates the multiscreen video in the region but added that all of the leading local content providers—including Etisalat, OSN and Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) — also offer their own online and / or multiscreen video services through their own networks or online video platforms.

Looking at the key over-the-top market, Frost & Sullivan estimates that pay-TV providers’ OTT services currently comprise less than 10% of the owners’ subscriber base. However, this is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of at least 60% over the next three years, as the service operators increase their investments in various offerings such as video-on-demand (VOD). The analyst also noted the presence in this sector of TE Live, Shahid, Icflix, and Istikana, who offer a plethora of international content alongside local Arab videos.

"A typical TV everywhere ecosystem includes at least 15 different components spanning ingest to management, delivery, monitoring, and playback of content,” said Vidya S. Nath, Research Director, Digital Media Practice, Global Innovation Centre, Frost & Sullivan.

“Most vendors providing these solutions are multinational companies. Creating a cohesive collaborative set-up that can unify content workflows for linear broadcast television alongside multiscreen distribution will be priority for broadcasters, studios, and pay-TV providers over the long term."