Mid East has 474 TV channels

Chris Forrester

The Arab world’s free-to-air (FTA) satellite TV channels grew by 28.1% between August 2007 and March 2009 according to Arab Advisors Group. By March 2009, the total number of FTA satellite channels reached 474 broadcasting on Arabsat, Nilesat and/or Noorsat. Research reveals that the highest number of channel types were private-sector general channels followed by government-sector general channels.

Arab Advisors Group says 18.5% of these channels are headquartered in Saudi Arabia. “Of the 474 channels, 46 were in test transmission mode. 82.7% of the 428 fully launched and operational FTA satellite channels broadcast exclusively in Arabic. The remaining languages lag far behind the Arabic language. English follows with a 7.2% share”.

Ms. Danya Nusseir, Arab Advisors Senior research analyst, says: “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%.”

“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,” Ms Nusseir adds.