At least one in three people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) watch 3 to 5 hours of television every day during Ramadan, compared to the regional average of *3.1 hours throughout the rest of the year, according to the latest survey on Ramadan TV viewing  habits by OSN, the leading pay-TV network.
Egypt led the region with more than 37% watching 3 to 5 hours of TV, 26% spending 1 to 3 hours and 15% hooked to their entertainment for 5 to 7 hours each day. In Saudi Arabia, 33% spend 3 to 5 hours every day, while in UAE and Kuwait, 32 and 30%, respectively, dedicate 3 to 5 hours for TV viewing.Series are the most popular genre of television watched during the Holy Month, with over 50% of viewers choosing to watch Egyptian, Syrian, Khaleeji or Turkish dramas. In Egypt, dramas (35%) are the most popular among viewers followed by talk shows and celebrity interviews (28%).Nearly 60% of respondents across the region emphasised the importance of watching the latest shows first, before anyone else. Watching the latest series first was particularly stressed by Kuwaiti (70%), Saudi Arabia and UAE (65% each) residents. Across the region, over 80% of viewers polled reinforced the importance of watching their favourite TV in high definition.Hamad Malik, Chief Marketing Officer, OSN said: "While it is common knowledge that television consumption increases during Ramadan and series are preferred, our survey highlights the increasing demand to watch original content before anyone else and in high definition. This is a strong vote of confidence for OSN and is in line with our strategy to provide the latest movies and series in true HD first and exclusively on our channels."Nearly 60% of those polled also highlighted the importance of being able to watch television at their own convenience, and being able to create their own personalised TV experience. "With busy schedules especially during Ramadan, viewers need more control over their TV viewing  experience so they can watch what they want when they want. We understand this, which is why OSN is putting a lot of emphasis on the viewer controlling their entertainment through OSN's innovative technology and our value added services such as 'On Demand' and 'Ramadan Catch Up' viewing," added Malik.Underlining the market appeal of OSN Play - the region's first online TV platform - around 38% of respondents said they prefer to watch TV on-the-go and at their convenience. Over 14% said it was essential that they watch their favourite programmes online or on smartphones. On specific and preferred series, over 80% said they look forward keenly to watch Season 3 of Hareem Al Sultan, which is now showing exclusively on OSN Ya Hala!HD at 21:00 KSA. Despite 60% stating that they have not watched the first two seasons of the popular series, they said it was a key priority for them to catch up with the third season. Further demonstrating the strength of pay-TV networks in offering seamless entertainment, with fewer advertisement breaks, 82% of those surveyed across the region said they get "very annoyed" when their viewing is interrupted by commercials. OSN conducted the survey over June and July 2013, interviewing nearly 1,000 viewers across the region covering a cross-section of the public from the age of 18 to 55.