MENA pay TV subscribers climbing - despite piracy

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 
Digital TV Research logo

The number of pay TV homes in the Middle East and North Africa will double between 2010 and 2020 to 21.3 million, according to a new 208-page report from Digital TV Research. Turkey will account for 37% of the 2020 total.

Eurasia, Turkey, Israel, Levant, Gulf, North Africa

  North Africa = Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia.
  Gulf States = Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE.
  Levant = Jordan, Lebanon, Syria.
  Eurasia = Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan.

  Source: Digital TV Research Ltd

According to the fourth edition of Digital TV Middle East & North Africa Forecasts, 18% of TV households legitimately paid for TV signals by end-2014. This proportion will climb to 24% by 2020. Qatar will record 72% pay TV penetration by 2020, with Israel (71%) also high. However, pay TV penetration will be below 10% of TV households in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia.

Legitimate pay TV revenues for the 20 countries covered in the report will grow by 75% between 2010 and 2020 to $5.63 billion. Turkey and Israel are expected to contribute 51% of the region’s pay TV revenues in 2020; down from 61% in 2014.

Satellite TV will continue to dominate pay TV revenues, taking two-thirds of the 2020 total (similar to the 2014 proportion). Satellite TV revenues will be $3.76 billion in 2020. Turkey will account for $1,572 million of these revenues, followed by Saudi Arabia with $674 million. Saudi Arabia will take second place from Israel in 2015.

Pay satellite TV penetration will climb from 6.9% in 2010 to 11.8% in 2020, with subscriber numbers doubling from 5.01 million to 10.32 million. Of the 10.32 million total in 2020, Turkey will contribute 5.32 million and Saudi Arabia 1.24 million. Penetration in 2020 will reach 37% in Qatar, but will be less than 5% in 10 other countries.

Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Pay satellite TV has grown due mainly to the expansion of OSN and beIN Sports. We estimate that OSN had 1,162,000 residential satellite subscribers [excluding non-residential satellite subscribers and subscribers to non-satellite platforms] at end-2014, with beIN Sports providing a further 819,000.”

He cautioned: “Piracy remains a major problem, despite many efforts to eradicate it. There are 34.3 million free-to-air satellite TV homes in the Middle East and North Africa sub-regions [excluding Israel, Turkey and Eurasia]. We estimate that at least 10% of these homes also receive pirated premium satellite TV signals. This represents considerable revenue loss to the legitimate players.”

There will be 6.16 million legitimate IPTV subs across the whole region by 2020; triple the 2014 total. Turkey (1,631,000 subscribers – five times as many as 2014) will be the IPTV subscriber leader in 2020. However, Qatar (35%) will lead in penetration terms by 2020. IPTV revenues will grow tenfold between 2010 and 2020 – to $1,071 million.