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Tue 14 Jan 2020 03:37 PM

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Maaz Sheikh, co-founder STARZPLAY: "Streaming platforms are now investing in original content for Arab youth"

Predictions For 2020: As consumers move away from traditional TV viewing, we see what 2020 has in store for the streaming services, as they look to dominate the market.

Maaz Sheikh, co-founder STARZPLAY: "Streaming platforms are now investing in original content for Arab youth"

Maaz Sheikh, CEO and co-founder of STARZPLAY.

In 2020, traditional TV and video streaming will continue to coexist, each serving its own unique audience, where broad-casters focus on more national content, news, and live sporting events, while streaming platforms focus on global and pan-regional Arabic content. We believe streaming platforms will grow and strengthen their position as consumers’ demand for entertainment content in the Arab world is fundamentally shifting to online viewing.

The rapidly changing regional and global landscape makes future predictions difficult. But here are my insights into where the industry is heading:

Monetising content: More online content and more choices for consumers. Increased availability of content plays a major role in the growing popularity of streaming services. According to industry reports, video streaming will make up 80 percent of internet traffic by the year 2022. Content creators and producers are increasingly relying on streaming platforms to monetise and distribute their content. In addition, an increasing number of streaming platforms are now investing in original content to create binge-worthy TV shows specifically geared for the Arab youth.


New revenue Broadcasters will look to monetise their content libraries

Content supermarket: Streaming platforms will take the lead in aggregation and distribution of Hollywood, Arabic, Turkish and Bollywood content in the Middle East. Streaming platforms will be able to offer a full range of global and regional Arabic content, including expanding their sports, lifestyle and documentary content.

More original programming: Led by the success of Netflix’s original content in the US, the global demand for original programming has been increasing.

Historically regional YouTube multi-channel-networks have created original short-form Arabic content online catering to the millennial and generation Z consumers. We are now entering the era of high-quality productions that brings local stories to life. We take pride in that STARZPLAY has announced its first original Arabic production to be aired in 2020.

"An increasing number of streaming platforms are now investing in original content to create binge-worthy TV shows specifically geared for the Arab youth"

Mobile consumption will surpass big screen TV consumption: Mobile consumption growth will be fueled by a combination of factors – growing 4G and 5G penetration across MENA, partnerships between streaming services and mobile networks, and the launch of streaming platforms by leading telecom operators like Etisalat, Saudi Telecom, and Orange Telecom. As 4G and 5G adoption grows in the region, the improvement in video quality will make streaming even more popular and affordable on mobile broadband.

Increased collaboration: The media industry will see growing consolidation and strategic partnerships in the broadcast and streaming world. Broadcasters will look to monetise their content libraries through leading streaming platforms in the region. The combination of regional content and Hollywood content will further drive the adoption of streaming platforms.

Maaz Sheikh, CEO and co-founder of STARZPLAY.

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