Arab World music channels scramble for the potential revenues pie
Lebanon hosts the largest number of free-to-air Music channels in the region with five channels broadcasting, including a the Saudi-owned Rotana channels. Egypt follows with four, followed by the United Arab Emirateds (UAE) with two channels, according to the Arab Advisors Group.
Arabic music channels throughout the region are a fairly new trend that started in the mid 1990’s. Music Now, part of the pay TV Orbit Network was the first music-dedicated channel of its kind to broadcast to the Arab region in 1995. It was not until October 2001 that the Egyptian Dream TV free-to-air (FTA) music channel was launched on the Nilesat satellite.
New research by the Arab Advisors Group analyzes the eleven free-to-air music channels on both the Nilesat and Arabsat Satellites that cater to listeners throughout the region. Realizing that normal advertising revenue will not suffice, these channels are trying new telecom-based revenue generation models.
“Analyzing their content, it is evident that television advertising is not the main planned revenue source for FTA music channels,” noted Arab Advisors Group’s Media Research Analyst, Judeh Siwady. “Music channels are trying to leverage the growing base of mobile phone users throughout the Arab region. SMS messaging is a key planned aspect of generating revenue as the lines between the media and telecommunication services blur,” Judeh added.
The group believes that both the TV channels and telecom operators have a stake in increased adoption and usage of these telecom-based services in the media industry. An increase in promotion for these services both by the broadcast industry and by the telecom operators is expected.
Operating a satellite TV station is a costly affair. The cost of renting transmission channels on a satellite system can exceed the $300,000 mark every year. This is not counting content, human resources, production and studio costs. “With close to 100 satellite TV stations targeting the Arab World the competition for eyeballs and ad revenues is surely an up hill battle,” Siwady observed.
Nonetheless, the group expects the number of music channels to increase in the short term and then decrease in the coming two to three years. This new industry in the region will go through the natural cycle of shakeout and consolidation. Deep pocketed channels, who also manage to gain a wide viewer ship base, will be the natural winners. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)