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A Frost & Sullivan study finds that the Middle East (ME) is optimal for growth of multiscreen video distribution. According to the study presented at CABSAT, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will be linked through 545 Million consumer connected devices by 2020, impacting business models and personal lives in a way that is unforeseeable today. While linear pay-TV services contribute dominantly to revenue and viewership of video in the region, there is growing evidence that consumers increasingly watch content on video-capable Internet-connected devices. Eventually, the time spent online more or less equals the time spent on watching TV. Hence, content creators are seeking ways to distribute the content to multiple platforms.
Currently, YouTube dominates the multiscreen video in the region. However, all leading content providers also offer their own online and / or multiscreen video services to their subscribers, including Etisalat, OSN, Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC), amongst others, through their own networks or online video platforms. Frost & Sullivan estimates that OTT services through pay-TV providers comprise less than 10 per cent penetration of the total pay-TV subscribers. However, it is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of at least 60 per cent over the next three years, as these service operators increase their investments in various offerings such as video-on-demand. The universe of multiscreen video also encompasses several native content aggregators in the region such as TE Live, Shahid, Icflix, and Istikana, who offer a plethora of international content alongside local Arab videos.
According to Vidya S. Nath, Research Director, Digital Media Practice, Global Innovation Centre, Frost & Sullivan, a typical TV-Everywhere ecosystem includes at least 15 different components spanning ingest to management, delivery, monitoring, and playback of content. “Most vendors providing these solutions are multinational companies. Creating a cohesive collaborative set-up that can unify content workflows for linear broadcast television alongside multiscreen distribution will be priority for broadcasters, studios, and pay-TV providers over the long term.”