IPTV remains in a nascent state in the Arab World

Monday, June 8th, 2009 
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FTA channels and piracy remain main obstacles facing IPTV uptake in the region

Seven service providers in six countries in the Arab World offer commercial IPTV services in May 2009, up from four service providers in three countries offering IPTV in August 2007. As broadband adoption increases in the region, several operators in the Arab World have plans to implement IPTV in the near future.

IPTV is in its initial stage of penetration in the Arab World, and is still developing. Seven service providers in six countries in the MENA region offer commercial IPTV services. These are: Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar and UAE. Reportedly, there are ongoing or planned projects by service providers and/or governments in seven other countries, which will, in the future, enable offering local IPTV services. These are: Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Tunisia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Senior industry executives debated the IPTV issue at the Arab Advisors 6th annual media and telecoms convergence conference held in Amman on June 1 and 2, 2009 which was attended by 533 delegates from over 180 companies spanning 25 countries. They pointed to the massive supply of FTA channels and the widespread piracy of DVDs and Pay TV as obstacles facing IPTV providers. They also noted that ongoing FTTH projects in some countries should enhance the fortunes of future IPTV uptake as media broadcasters leverage its interactivity.

A new report, “An Overview of IPTV in the Arab World” was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s Media Strategic Research Service subscribers on May 13, 2009. This report can be purchased from the Arab Advisors Group for only US$ 750. The 54-page report, which has 35 detailed exhibits, provides an overview of IPTV in the Arab World. The report includes details of IPTV services that the above mentioned operators offer; furthermore, the report includes fiber optics projects of the other operators in the region that are preparing to launch the service in the future.