The online subscription video market (OTT) in MENA is expected to increase over 50% by 2020, according to a study by global research firm IHS Markit, which shows it currently stands at around 25% of the Pay TV market in the region.
Leading regional platform StarzPlay, which holds 26% of the OTT market share compared to Netflix’s 16% share and ICIFLIX’s 11%, sees 30% of its sign-ups coming from Saudi Arabia, according to the same study.
Research also showed the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of online video subscriptions between 2013 and 2022 is predicted to be 64.2% in comparison to a much lower rate of 6.1% for the pay TV market. During this time, OTT subscriptions are expected to rise above 5 million
Furthermore, data revealed StarzPlay is number one in the region in terms of revenue, holding 28% market share compared to Netflix’s 21%.
The company, which managed to secure funds of $125m, strengthened its service through new features, including its download function, as well as partnerships with major telecommunications providers, which allows it to provide its service through several internet protocol television systems and offer its customers the option of paying through mobile billing, in a market with low credit card penetration.
Its telco partners include Etisalat, du, Saudi Telecom Group, Ooredoo Group, Orange Jordan, Orange Egypt and Orange Morocco.
StarzPlay’s pricing regime has also contributed to its success, as it varies depending on consumer spend in the countries, with higher rates in the Gulf and lesser prices in North Africa.
It was founded by CEO Maaz Sheikh in 2015, and today boasts over 10,000 hours of content, ranging from Hollywood, Arabic and Bollywood movies and TV shows, across 19 countries in MENA. Exclusive StarzPlay content includes Power, Outlander, Spartacus and The White Queen.
Its lead investors are Lionsgate Company and State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), as well as media and technology investment firms SEQ Capital Partners and Delta Partners.
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