Video-on-demand platforms to achieve huge growth in MENA

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The entertainment sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is expected to grow as interest in subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services continue to rise.

Research and Markets’ new report indicates that by 2025, there will be 27.16 million paying SVOD subscriptions from 20 countries in the MENA region, up from the 10.95 million reported at the end of 2019.

By then, 13 Arab countries will have 12.27 million subscriptions, three times the figure of 4.13 million for 2019 and higher growth than for the rest of the region. Five million will come from Netflix, followed by StarzPlay (2,39 million) and OSN (2,28 million). By 2025, these three platforms will accumulate 78 percent of the total from Arab countries.

Starzplay’s growth 

According to a new study by PSB Research on ‘The Rise and Rise of Streaming Video in the Mena Market’, StarzPlay recently announced a robust 141 percent growth in the number of unique users during April 2020 when the COVID-19 crisis peaked in the region. The brand announced that the UAE is its largest growth market with users rising by 70% year-on-year and the number of streaming hours rising by 80%.

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Maaz Sheikh
Co-Founder & CEO

“Our year-on-year growth is led by our focus on meeting the aspirations of our subscribers by offering content that is truly relevant to them and by deploying breakthrough technology. The findings will enable us to hone our content and offer further and assure greater value to our subscribers.”

Experts say that Netflix is set to remain the platform leader and will more than double its subscriber total to 9.81 million by 2025. It is expected that the share of the MENA total will remain at around 36 percent and about half of Netflix’s MENA subscribers will be in Arab countries.

Similarly, OSN has seen a shift in consumption trends across its content with Disney+ Originals content and HBO content continuing to be the largest contributor to the share of engagement. The categories of family programming continue to be successful while new genres like cookery shows and documentary have also gained popularity.

Paramount+ was also recently launched in MENA by ViacomCBS International Media Networks Middle East, an SVOD streaming service that provides viewers with an extensive line of content from ViacomCBS and third parties, including movies, TV shows, telenovelas and comedy indicating the increasing number of new players entering and tightening competition in the sector.