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“ Although subscriber numbers climb impressively , there are just too many Arabic platforms .” - Simon Murray , Digital TV Research cast wear masks . But Covid productions are challenging . One Hollywood production ( the latest Jurassic World sequel , Jurassic World : Dominion ) which has now wrapped production , admitted it had to have 40,000 Covid tests and extra millions spent on creating safe-working ‘ bubbles ’ for cast and crew . Its example was replicated across the film and TV sectors .
A blog from PwC Middle East at the start of 2021 , Five economic themes for 2021 to watch in the Gulf , said : “ The past year taught us that the economy , as with most things in life , can be unpredictable . We should also prepare for potential new shocks ( both good and bad ) that may lie ahead in what should prove to be an exciting year as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic .” PROGRESS : But progress has been made . Arabsat , that pioneer of MENA broadcasting , has evolved and gone from strength to strength . Arabsat ’ s very latest data , drawn from its IPSOS detailed survey , is showcased on these pages ( see page 15 ) and makes impressive reading . The IPSOS pan-regional study covered 22 countries and involved a sample size in excess of 24,000 . The study wrapped in October 2020 and was presented by Arabsat in April 2021 .
The study explores the extent of satellite penetration in the MENA market , the evolution of TV reception modes and technological trends in the satellite market . It analyses the TV landscape and viewership content most popular in the region , as well as relevant socio-demographics . It also studies Arabsat ’ s own influence and penetration in the market and identifies its strengths and areas of improvement .
The data gathered is fascinating and showing that News channels take the Number 2 spot in terms of popularity ( 56 %) and behind ‘ Entertainment ’ ( 77 %). The study also confirmed the struggle that pay-TV has in gaining any traction in the MENA region . IPSOS found that 8 % of MENA viewers subscribed to a pay-TV platform , and 7.2 % cited ‘ Sport ’ as their main reason for subscribing . PROSPECTS : The survey echoed the study from Digital TV Research in February 2021 which spoke optimistically about the prospects for Middle East pay-TV , and while Dubaibased OSN is forecast to gain almost 1.5m subs by 2026 ( to 2.7m from today ’ s 1.27m ), the major growth occurs with Netflix ( and a forecast 11.5m subs by 2026 from today ’ s 7.3m ). The biggest jump in MENA pay-TV is for Disney + which is forecast to jump from zero in 2020 to 3.55m by 2026 . Add in Shahid VIP ( to 1.47m by 2026 ), Starz Play ( to 2.28m by 2026 ), Apple TV + to 345,000 by 2026 and Amazon ( to 3.65 by 2026 ).
Back to the Arabsat study , and it is clear that its transmissions are most popular in Saudi Arabia ( 5.24m homes ), the UAE and Bahrain , but it also does extremely well in Qatar . The vast majority of viewers are quite young with 81 % of them in the below-44-year age group while the remaining are in the 45- to 60-year bracket . At least 45 % of viewers are less than 30 years-old in this mix , which illustrates the strong sustainable relevance
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