Digital drives proliferating pay-TV market in Middle East

| 21 May 2014

Three years after digital TV passed into the majority in the region, digital TV is set to end 2014 by reaching two-thirds of home in the Middle East & North Africa and drive a pay-TV market generating $8 billion.

According to the Digital TV Middle East & Africa Databook from Digital TV Research, digital TV penetration will be 73.8% in the Middle East & North Africa (up from 64.3% in 2010) and 57.1% in Sub-Saharan Africa (up from only 19.2% in 2010).

This will mean that there will be 132.4 million TV households across the region by end-2014; up from 117.2 million in 2010. However, 113.0 million homes (46.0% of total households) will not have a TV set by end-2014. Furthermore, the region is expected to reach 89.3 million digital TV households by the end of 2014, up by 12.4 million during the year and up by 32.4 million since 2010.

The research calculates that pay-TV subscriptions will jump by 75.5% from 16.3 million in 2010 to 28.7 million by end-2014, with subsequent revenues reaching $8 billion in 2014, up from $4.84 billion in 2010. The Middle East & North Africa is projected to have 15.5 million pay-TV subs by end-2014 (up from 10.6 million in 2010), with Sub-Saharan Africa on 13.1 million (more than double the 2010 total).

In terms of platforms, free-to-air satellite TV will become the most popular platform in 2014, overtaking the declining analogue terrestrial total. Satellite TV is forecast to contribute the bulk of pay-TV revenues, with its share of the total rising from 77.5% in 2010 to 78.8% in 2014. Pay-TV revenues in the Middle East & North Africa will increase from $3.0 billion in 2010 to $4.4 billion in 2014, with Sub-Saharan Africa doubling over the same period to $3.6 billion. For its part, IPTV is growing fast, and should soon overtake digital cable.