OTT Revenue in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa is on the Rise (Report)

It looks like the Middle East may start embracing foreign digital subscription video services now that the SVOD version of Starz has launched in the region.

Although the region has not been historically open to foreign influences in entertainment, global tech research firm Ovum believes that subscription streaming is poised for “rapid growth” in the Middle East. The firm found that the region only accounts for 5% of worldwide OTT video spending right now, but it has lots of potential.

“Middle Eastern subscription streaming is set to grow dramatically compared to other regional markets over the coming years,” said Ismail Patel, an Ovum TV Practice analyst, in a statement. “SVOD revenues will grow by over 25% annually to 2019, accounting for over 70% of all OTT revenues in the region. A dramatic increase in subscriber numbers is forecast in the next few years and 2019 will see more than 1 million Middle Eastern subscribers watching streaming services, complementing a growing overall market for visual entertainment.”

SVOD set to grow in the middle east

This expectation for OTT video growth is echoed by Digital TV Research’s upcoming Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa OTT TV & Video Forecasts report, due for release next month. It predicts that video revenue in 19 countries across the regions will grow up to $2.635 billion in 2020 — a significant increase from the $616 million in revenue expected this year.

Digital TV Research also forecasts that SVOD will account for most of this revenue by 2017, making up $1.568 billion of the over $2 billion predicted for 2020. Most of this will likely come from Russia, set to account for about 8.97 million of SVOD additions in homes across the regions, while Turkey is predicted to make up the second largest chunk, with 2.37 million.

As of now, SVOD offerings in the Middle East largely come from pay TV broadcasters and established telcos, leaving a lot of room for competition from more innovative services in the market. Ovum, for example, believes that the recently launched SVOD service, Starz Arabia, will do very well in the Middle East and North Africa because its content will stand out as unique and original in the territories.

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