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Middle East has 850+ FTA channels

According to data from Jordan-based Arab Advisors Group (AAG), the Middle East has 854 free-to-air satellite channels broadcasting on Arabsat, Nilesat, YahLive and Noorsat (Noorsat mostly uses Eutelsat frequencies). The bad news is that only 2.1 per cent were transmitting in HD. The data was examined at the end of May 2016.

The number does include a great number of duplicated channels which transmit on both Arabsat and Nilesat in order to maximise audience reach.

HD is by and large limited to pay-TV broadcasts from the region’s pay-TV broadcasters, plus transmissions from main-stream broadcasters such MBC.

The number of satellite channels targeting the Arab region continues to grow, says AAG. The FTA landscape had a major growth of 736 per cent in the number of FTA satellite channels which broadcast in SD between January 2004 and May 2016.

In the past year, and excluding channels in the test transmission phase, reached 821, up from 762 in September 2014.

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