The four Pay TV operators in the Arab World will collect an estimated $160 million in subscription revenues for 2003, according to a recent Arab Advisors report. The major markets for Pay TV remain the richer gulf countries with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) having the biggest number of subscribers out of the total.
The Arab World remains mostly tuned to free to air satellite TV channels broadcasting mainly from Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Lebanon. Satellite PayTV is still a niche market with no more than 1.5 percent of Arab Households subscribing.
The region has been undergoing an immense growth in Satellite TV viewer ship and content. This growth is mainly driven by factors related to advancement in technology. The decrease in cost of receivers, the increase in free to air channels, and the increase in specialized channels played an important role in expanding the audience size among the Arab world. Another important point is the relatively poor performance of the government-owned channels; such channels usually have poor content regarding entertainment, as entertainment is one of the main reasons for watching TV besides news.
“The slow deregulation of the media industry in some Arab countries allowed for the emergence of a number of privately owned satellite TV channels. Some of these privately owned channels are allowed to operate and broadcast out of the Arab World such as the ART network,” wrote Arab Advisors Group Media Research Analyst, Abdelrahaman Pharaon in the report.
“The Arab Advisors Group estimates the number of satellite audience in the Arab world to be around 71 million viewers. North African owing to their large populations- countries contribute more than 50 percent of viewers, followed by the Gulf countries and the Levant region.” Pharon added.
The report, which classifies Arab Satellite TV channels by themes, strategy, ownership and location, shows that the majority of the Arab satellite channels broadcast from Egypt. Some 34 percent of the total channels are located in Egypt’s Media Production City, whereas 19 percent of the channels are located in Dubai’s Media City in the UAE.
Lebanon comes after Egypt and UAE with 12 percent. Saudi Arabia has five percent, followed by three percent for both Qatar and the United Kingdom. Some 24 percent of office locations come from other countries that include the North African region, Gulf countries, Levant, Iran, Mauritania, Somalia, and Spain.
Pay TV channels are becoming more popular among the Arab audience, as the leading companies are fiercely competing over viewer ship. The Arab Advisors Group estimates the total size of pay TV in the Arab World at around 625,000 households by October 2003, less than 1.5 percent of total households. Competition came in advantage for customers as the current offers include free installation, satellite receiver, and decoder, all of which will contribute to more growth. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )