Eutelsat-Nilesat tops 50m in MENA

March 11, 2014 08.43 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

Eutelsat - Communications System Control Centre (Rambouillet, France)The Eutelsat-Nilesat 7/8 degrees West neighbourhood now has an audience of 51.5 million homes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

According to Eutelsat, on a like for like basis, this represents a 63% growth in the 10 countries included in the 2010 and 2013 studies.

The channel line-up meanwhile increased by 50% over the period to 1,050 Arabic and international services. Excluding Iran, where Eutelsat’s HOT BIRD satellites are the primary video neighbourhood, the Eutelsat-Nilesat 7/8 degrees West position enjoys an average penetration rate of over 90% of satellite homes in MENA.

Eutelsat adds that satellite remains the preferred digital infrastructure in MENA, being favoured for pay-TV or free-to air viewing in 92% of the 77.1 million TV homes across 15 countries. Just four years ago, satellite reception accounted for 67% of TV homes in the region.

Over the same period, the number of homes receiving analogue terrestrial TV slumped from 18.2 million in 2010 to 4.1 million in 2013, confirming satellite as the most popular route to digital switchover. IPTV has gained some ground in the Gulf with 0.7 million households exclusively IPTV equipped.

FTA meanwhile remains by far the most widespread reception mode across the region, accounting for 94% of satellite homes in 2013, up from 90% in 2010.

Also, the number of homes equipped with an HD Ready or Full HD display has crossed a threshold of 20 million, accounting for 29% of TV homes in the region. Penetration of HD consumer equipment in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan is above 50%. Of the 41.3 million homes not equipped for HDTV, 50% intend to buy an HD display within the next 12 months.

Commenting on the figures, Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat chairman and CEO, said: “Our new survey confirms the exceptional dynamics of the video market in the Middle East and North Africa and the key role played by satellites that now reach into more than nine out of ten homes in the region. This result reflects longstanding partnerships between Eutelsat, Gulfsat, Nilesat, Noorsat, Viewsat and anchor media groups, including Al Jazeera, MBC and OSN that are experiencing strong commercial success and are well placed for further expansion in the region.

The survey also confirms the leadership of the Eutelsat-Nilesat 7/8 West neighbourhood whose audience of more than 50 million homes can receive an unequalled line-up of 1,050 Arabic and international channels. Going forward, we believe that the move to higher quality afforded by HD and, for the future, 4K will further consolidate satellite as a core infrastructure in the region.”