MENA pay-TV sector offers 'huge opportunity' as revenues rise 24.4%

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 27 April 2015

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) pay-TV industry recorded 24.4% year-on-year growth in revenues in 2014, jumping from 702 million in 2013 to 873 million in 2014, according to IHS.

Although free-to-air satellite TV remains the predominant source of consumption for viewers in the region, primary pay-TV households rose to 4.8 million from 4.3 million in 2013, a year-on-year increase of 12.4%.

"This is the largest increase in revenue globally," said report author Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, senior analyst at IHS Technology. "The MENA region represents huge opportunities for investors. If we look at the demographics alone, over 60% of the population is under 35, they are media-literate and have developed international tastes in TV content."

Over the next four years, the pay-TV sector in MENA is forecast to grow at five times the rate of those in the US, UK, Germany, France and Italy. Some successful anti-piracy measures, improvements in the quality of pay-TV offerings, growing investment in Arabic content and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals all combined in 2014 to increase regional revenues, says IHS.

"As we look forward, we see that the region has a strong anti-piracy stance and excellent communication infrastructure that will facilitate the expansion of pay-TV networks and the offering of premium pay-TV," said Papavassilopoulos.
Primary pay-TV penetration was 10.52% at the end of 2014, rising from 9.25% in 2013. Looking at these figures, the MENA region can be likened to other developing pay-TV markets such as Brazil, India, South Africa and Turkey, claims the author.

The study, which included Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the UAE, showed a compound annual growth rate in the pay-TV sector of 23.3% between 2010 and 2014.

Positive growth in the region's pay-TV market is predicted by IHS to continue, with primary pay-TV households reaching 6.6 million and revenues 1.7 billion in 2019.