Qatar-based beIN Sports Arabia  (formerly Al Jazeera Sport) now has more than 2.43m subscribers, with active users across 23 countries in the MENA region, a recent report revealed. The broadcaster saw 26% subscriber growth in 2013 to end the year. A new report published by Dataxis, “beIN Sports Arabia – Operator Profile”, reveals that Saudi Arabia and UAE together counted 1.34 million beIN Sports subscribers at the end of 2013, representing 56% of the operator’s total pay-TV base in the region.
The DTH platform accounted for approximately 81% of the operator’s total pay-TV subs end-2013, with the remainder on IPTV networks in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Other countries – such as Lebanaon, Algeria, and Tunisia – have not performed so well, however, where Khadija Lokmane, Dataxis Market Analyst and report author, says piracy is still slowing the growth of pay-TV. “In North Africa, for example, Algeriahas the largest base of subscribers for beIN Sports, but black market usage is estimated at three times the official beIN Sport Arabia subscriber numbers,” says Lokmane.
The Al Jazeera group united its global sports operations under the single banner of beIN Sports on January 1, 2014, and subsequently launched an OTT service for beIN Sports Arabia in the MENA region. The online service simulcasts beIN Sports Arabia channels for a monthly subscriptions of just USD 19 per month (or USD 100 until July 31, 2014) – significantly cheaper than the average cost of USD 29.45 per month to access its Basic DTH package.