474 Arab free-to-air channels

By Robert Briel | June 12, 2009

The number of free to air (FTA) satellite TV channels in the Arab world has grown by 28.1% between August 2007 and March 2009. By this March, the total number of FTA satellite channels reached 474 on Arabsat, Nilesat and/or Noorsat.

The Arab Advisors Group research revealed, writes Andy Sennitt on his Radio Nederland blog, that the highest number of channel types were the private-sector general services, followed by government sector general channels. These results were highlighted during Arab Advisors 6th annual media and telecoms convergence conference recently held in Amman.

“Of the 474 channels, 46 were in test transmission mode, and 82.7% of the 428 fully launched and operational FTA satellite channels broadcast exclusively in Arabic. The remaining languages lagged far behind the Arabic language. English followed with a 7.2% share”, Danya Nusseir, Arab Advisors Senior research analyst, commented.

“In terms of the type of channels, general- private sector channels have the highest share (20.6%) amongst the total fully launched and operational FTA satellite channels, followed by the general-government sector channels at 13.3%”‘, she added.

“With respect to the channels’ main headquarters, 46.5% of the fully launched and operational FTA channels are headquartered in the Gulf region. The African and Levant regions follow with percentages of 22.9% and 19.9% respectively. In line with the liberalization of the audio visual sectors in the region, the number of private satellite channels exceeds the number of government owned channels: 72.4% are privately owned while 26.6% are government owned.”