Satellite dominates as MENA pay-TV figures rise to 21.3MN by 2020

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 03 February 2015

Middle East and North African (MENA) pay-TV homes will double in number this decade to 21.3 million by 2020, according to a report from Digital TV Research.

Turkey will account for 37% of the regional pay-TV penetration by 2020, when 24% of all MENA households are forecast to subscribe legitimately to pay-TV services, up from 18% at the end of 2014.

The Gulf state of Qatar will record 72% pay-TV penetration by the time it hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2020, with Israel's pay-TV providers reaching 71% of the population. However, regional disparities mean less than 10% of TV households in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia will receive pay-TV services.

"Pay satellite TV has grown due mainly to the expansion of OSN and beIN Sports. We estimate that OSN had 1,162,000 residential satellite subscribers [excluding non-residential satellite subscribers and subscribers to non-satellite platforms] at end-2014, with beIN Sports providing a further 819,000," said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research.

"Piracy remains a major problem, despite many efforts to eradicate it. There are 34.3 million free-to-air satellite TV homes in the Middle East and North Africa sub-regions [excluding Israel, Turkey and Eurasia]. We estimate that at least 10% of these homes also receive pirated premium satellite TV signals. This represents considerable revenue loss to the legitimate players."

Satellite TV revenues, which account for some two-thirds of all pay-TV revenues in the region, will hit US$3.76 billion in 2020. Some $1,572 million of this will come from Turkey, with Saudi Arabia leapfrogging Israel into second place in 2015 and accounting for $674 million by the end of the decade.

Satellite delivered pay-TV will achieve 11.8% penetration or 10.32 million in 2020, up from 6.9% of TV homes ten years earlier. Of these, Turkey will account for 5.32 million and Saudi Arabia 1.24 million. By 2020, 37% of Qatar's TV homes will receive subscription-based satellite services. However, 10 less affluent countries will struggle to support 5% penetration, according to researchers.

Although satellite will continue to dominate the pay-TV sector in MENA, legitimate IPTV subscriptions will triple between 2014 to 2020 to 6.16 million, and IPTV revenues will grow tenfold to $1,071 million between 2010 and 2020. As with satellite services, Turkey will provide the largest single number of subscribers (1,631,000) in 2020, although Qatar will lead the region in terms of penetration figures, reaching 35% at the end of this decade.