DetailsEditor | 20 January 2015

Despite satellite TV being traditionally dominant in the region, over-the-top (OTT) services have great potential in MENA and can expect at least double-digit growth in the short term.

In a keynote address, Ingo Lalla regional director MENA Limelight Networks noted that TV companies were working in a world where global IP traffic increased more than five-fold over the last three years and this figure is set to increase three times over the next five. By 2016, just over half (55%) of this traffic will likely be delivered over a content delivery network (CDN). Lalla added that global IP video traffic would account for 79% of consumer Internet traffic by 2018, up 66% on the current amount, with MENA the fastest growing region.

This, said the executive, would form the basis of the OTT sector one of whose key drivers would be the huge attraction of a direct-to-consumer content model. Lalla added that the region was tapping into a market where consumer behaviour is changing to explore more non-linear content. The key benefits for OTT players would be subscriber stickiness, added subscriber revenues, increased advertising revenues and brand extension. That said, he also highlighted the fact the MENA's OTT market would have number of challenges, notably premium content and network speed. "Diversity of languages and content being king is never more true than here," he suggested. "The OTT chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So there has to be no buffering and [guaranteed] network content delivery and discovery on multiple devices."

All in all though Lalla envisaged three basic scenarios for OTT development in the region, describing the opportunities as massive, with as much as 25% growth predicted in the best case.