beIN Sports Arabia (formerly Al Jazeera Sport) saw 26 per cent subscriber growth in 2013 to end the year with 2.43 million active users across 23 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The DTH platform accounted for approximately 81 per cent of the operator’s total pay-TV subs end-2013, with the remainder on IPTV networks in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
A new report published by Dataxis reveals that Saudi Arabia and UAE together counted 1.34 million beIN Sports subscribers at the end of 2013, representing 56 per cent of the operator’s total pay-TV base in the MENA region.
Other countries – such as Lebanon, Algeria, and Tunisia – have not performed so well, however, where Khadija Lokmane, Dataxis Market Analyst and report author, says piracy is still slowing the growth of pay-TV. “In North Africa, for example, Algeria has the largest base of subscribers for beIN Sports, but black market usage is estimated at three times the official beIN Sport Arabia subscriber numbers,” says Lokmane.
The Al Jazeera group united its global sports operations under the single banner of beIN Sports on January 1st 2014, and subsequently launched an OTT service for beIN Sports Arabia in the MENA region.