In the past three quarters, the COVID-19 outbreak and decline in oil prices have caused severe impacts to MENA countries’ economic activity and trade. For television, the lockdown has fueled new habits in viewing and content consumption.
Faced with an attractive pan Arab FTA market led by giants such as MBC or Rotana, traditional pay TV operators are struggling to reduce churn, especially in a context of crisis. IPTV and OTT players appear to be in line with consumer needs while combining national and international channels with non-linear offerings like catch-up services or VOD library access. Such value-added services allow operators to grow their ARPU and to boost revenue growth.
All in all, most broadcasters and satellite operators are looking towards OTT. The MBC Group operates the ad-supported platform Shahid (which also offers a subscription option) and OSN aims at shifting its DTH subscriber base online via its recently rebranded OTT pay TV service OSN streaming. Al Majd also developed an online alternative with the service Hadif while the telcos operators Ooredoo, STC and Etisalat have already declined their TV offer on the OTT model in their domestic markets – namely Oman, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.