Arab world witnesses 651% growth in free satellite channels
Rebecca Hawkes
| 28 November 2014
A boom in free-to-air (FTA) broadcasting on the Arab world's regional satellite platforms has seen the number of channels escalate to 762, with 724 of these now fully operational.

In May 2013, the number of fully launched and operational FTA channels available on the Arabsat, Nilesat, Noorsat and Yahlive platforms, numbered 658. Between January 2004 and September 2014 the number of SD FTA satellite channels rose by 651%.

The majority of the current 724 channels are broadcast in standard definition (SD), while 10.5% broadcast in high definition (HD), according to a report from Jordan-based Arab Advisors Group.

"78.3% of the operational FTA satellite channels are privately owned," said Dalia Haddad, senior research analyst, Arab Advisors Group. "In terms of the types of channels, general/private sector channels constitute 22.4% of the operational FTA satellite channels followed by news and current affairs channels".

Hind Qweider, another senior research analyst for the group added: "A plurality of FTA channels are headquartered in Egypt which hosts 18.9% of the fully launched and operational FTA channels. The UAE and Iraq follow with percentages of 13.0% and 11.0%, respectively".