Pay TV's Mideast revenues jump 37%, may hit 2 billion euros
London - Primary household subscriptions jumped 10% to 4.95 million
Pay TV market in the Middle East and North Africa region, which recorded a 37 per cent surge in revenues to 1.17 billion euros in 2015, is projected to double in five years on the back of an anticipated boom in household subscriptions following the opening of the Iranian TV market.
According to a new report from IHS Inc, a leading global source of critical information and insight, it was for the first time revenues from pay TV passed the billion-euro mark last year as primary household subscriptions jumped 10 per cent to 4.95 million.
The report, entitled Middle East and North Africa Pay TV Market Monitor, said revenues from primary households' subscriptions rose from 852 million euros in 2014 to 1.17 billion euros in 2015.
"Pay TV in the Middle East and North Africa region is growing rapidly and faster than any other region we analyse," said Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, senior analyst, IHS Technology.
IHS forecasts that pay TV subscribers will increase to 6.54 million by the end of 2020, up 32 per cent on the end of 2015 and representing a CAGR of six per cent over the five-year period.
The report said that the positive drive of the pay TV market would continue persistently for the next five years, with revenues almost doubling to just over 2 billion euros in that time frame. The growth will be due to the enhanced level of competition between the major operators, the introduction of TV Audience Ratings Systems in the Gulf States, the expansion of fibre networks, which facilitate the offering of premium pay TV services.
The opening of the Iranian TV market, a largely untapped market for pay TV business, is providing a wealth of opportunities for the regional operators. According to local data sources, 71 per cent of TV household in Tehran are equipped with a satellite dish. But there are still barriers to be surpassed. "The online-video market is very nascent," Papavassilopoulos said. "IHS put broadband penetration at 56 per cent of households at the end 2015. However, due to the Iranian government policy of regulating access to the Internet for its citizens, broadband speeds are lower than in neighboring Arab states. Content will also have to be carefully chosen to appeal to the Iranian audience. Simply repurposing content that was made for wider Arabic audiences will not work for Iran."
There is optimism both inside Iran and internationally that the lifting of sanctions will put added pressure on the government to relieve some of these restrictions, according to the HIS report.
IHS forecasts that TV advertising revenues can grow from $275 million in 2015 to $627 million in 2020 if the normalisation of trade between Iran and the rest of the world continues. "The TV market would benefit hugely," Papavassilopoulos said. "Our forecast figures would represent a healthy compound annual growth rate of 18 per cent," he said.