2015 was a year of growth for the pay TV market in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. The positive trend of growth, both in subscribers’ numbers and revenues, continued unabated for the fifth year in a row i.e. since 2010. The primary pay TV households in the 13 countries covered by IHS Television Media Intelligence Service (IHS TMIS) reached the number of 4.95 million at the end of 2015, representing a year-on-year growth of 10.25% over the 4.5 million of 2014. The revenues from primary households’ subscriptions experienced a more impressive growth rate of 37% over the same 12-month period: from €852 million in 2014 to €1.17 billion in 2015. The basic ingredients for growth were the consolidation of the market leaving in practice only two satellite operators (and two other serving basically niche markets), the renewed efforts to fight piracy (both online and via satellite), the offering of premium international and regional content, the rise in the production of local (Arabic) content, a shift in the attitude of people (primarily young people) towards using credit cards and purchasing content by transacting online and, finally, the growth of the Over-The-Top (OTT) TV content propositions. IHS TMIS believes that the pay TV market in MENA will retain that positive momentum for the next five years. IHS TMIS forecasts that the primary pay TV subscribers will grow 31%, from 4.95 million in 2015 to 6.46 million in 2020. Revenues from primary pay TV subscriptions will grow 73%, from €1.17 billion in 2015 to €2.03 billion in 2020.
- Total primary pay TV households in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) rose to 4.95 million at the end of 2015, rising 10.25% year-on-year.
- Revenues from primary pay TV households’ subscriptions topped over €1 billion for the first time in the MENA pay TV market. They have risen to €1.17 billion in 2015 from €852 million in 2014, achieving a growth rate of 37% year-on-year.
- Major factors that drove growth in 2015 were the consolidation of the market, the exclusive offering of premium international and regional content, the rise in the production of Arabic content, the renewed efforts to fight piracy, the ever growing use of credit cards as well as the familiarization with the purchase of content by transacting online and the growth of SVoD OTT offerings.
- IHS expects that the positive drive of the pay TV market will continue persistently for the next five years, with total primary pay TV households rising to 6.46 million in 2020 while revenues almost doubling to €2.03 billion over the same five-year period. The growth will be based on the enhanced level of competition between the major operators, the introduction of TV Audience Ratings Systems in the Gulf States, the expansion of fibre networks which facilitate the offering of premium pay TV services and the growth of the SVoD OTT services.
- OSN and beIN Media Group are the two dominant operators, controlling over 65% of market share in terms of primary subscribers and over 70% of the market’s revenues from primary households’ subscriptions in 2015. Their grip on the market is expected to hold up in the near future after beIN Media Group’s entrance into the entertainment content market.
- While 2015 saw the launch of international SVoD OTT services like Starz Play Arabia and 2016 saw the emergence of Netflix, the MENA pay TV market will not be seriously impacted on, as these services are currently seen as complementing rather than disrupting the market for paid content and their offers, especially of regional content, are still weak.
- The opening of the Iranian TV market, a largely untapped market for pay TV business, is providing a wealth of opportunities for the MENA operators but there are still barriers to be surpassed.
- The MENA TV market continues to boost the largest FTA HD channels’ offer in the world. At the end of 2015, a total of 244 HD channels were accessible to TV viewers, practically half of them (120) offered for free.
- Satellite is the dominant platform for receiving TV content in MENA. At the end of 2015 90.2% of total TV households were relying on a satellite connection, followed by the DTT platform (at 5.8%) and IPTV (at 2.6%). Among the pay TV platforms, three out of four households are watching satellite (77%) while the rest (23%) subscribed to IPTV in 2015.
List of tables and charts:
- Chart1: MENA Pay TV Subscribers 2006 - 2015
- Chart2: MENA Pay TV Subscribers 2015 - 2020
- Chart3: Pay TV Penetration (%) vs Pay TV Subscribers 2010 - 2015
- Chart4: The split of Pay TV Platforms in 2015 in MENA
- Chart5: The split of TV distribution platforms in MENA 2013 - 2020
- Chart6: OSN and beIN Sports’ Market Share in Subscribers and Revenues 2010 - 2015
- Chart7: The total HD channels and the HD launches 2010 - 2015
- Chart8: The primary subscribers of Pay TV Operators in MENA in 2015
- Chart9: The split of primary Pay TV Households by Operator in 2015
- Chart10: The split of primary Pay TV Households by Operator in 2020
- Chart11: The split (%) of 2015 Pay TV revenues by operator
- Chart12: The split (%) of 2020 Pay TV revenues by operator
- Chart13: beIN subscribers and subscribers’ growth 2010 - 2015
- Chart14: OSN Subscribers and Subscribers’ growth 2010 - 2015
- Chart15: IPTV Subscribers and Market Share (%) 2009 - 2015
- Chart16: UAE: Primary Pay TV Households and Revenues 2011 - 2015
- Chart17: UAE: The high penetration of IPTV sets Etisalat topping the Pay TV list
- Chart18: UAE: The split of Revenues from Primary Households Subscriptions in 2015
- Chart19: Saudi Arabia: Primary Pay TV Households and Revenues 2011 - 2015
- Chart20: Saudi Arabia: satellite and beIN Media are dominant
- Chart21: Saudi Arabia: The split of Revenues from Primary Households Subscriptions in 2015
- Chart22: Egypt: Primary Pay TV Households and Revenues 2011 - 2015
- Chart23: Egypt: The low pay TV penetration is favouring beIN Media due to sports content
- Chart24: Egypt: The split of Revenues from Primary Households Subscriptions in 2015
- Chart25: Morocco: Primary Pay TV Households and Revenues 2011 - 2015
- Chart26: Morocco: Except beIN Media the other MENA operators have a small presence
- Chart27: Morocco: The split of Revenues from Primary Households Subscriptions in 2015
- Table1: BeIN Media: Key deals, partnerships and launches in 2015
- Table2: OSN: Key deals, partnerships and launches in 2015
- Table3: IPTV Country-Market (in 2015)
Number of pages: 27
Number of tables and charts: 30
Associate Director, Service Providers & Platforms, IHS Markit
Mr. Constantinos Papavassiliopoulos, associate director at IHS Markit, is responsible for covering TV and online video market developments.