Digital Content in MENA

The MENA region has some of the highest internet penetration figures in the world and a proliferation of high end devices. In parallel, operators have invested heavily in fixed and mobile broadband services to be able to deliver high quality experiences to customers.

To date, the distribution of video content in the region has been dominated by satellite TV operators. The appetite for video content is phenomenal, with Saudi Arabia famously having some of the highest per capita consumption figures for online video anywhere in the world.

Key facts from this report:

  • 62% paid for digital content in 2016 (vs 59% in 2015)
  • 38% cited movies as the content type paid for by subscription in 2016, ahead of sports (34%) and TV series (25%)
  • Of those that mention a brand for consuming video content, YouTube is most mentioned with 73%
  • 71% use their smartphone to consume content

The MENA region offers enormous potential for those delivering OTT (Over-The-Top) services. Just over a half of internet users in our survey representing some 17 million adults across Egypt, KSA and UAE are paying for online content in its different forms. A third or around 10 million users say they are very likely to subscribe over the next 12 months to an online video service. Customers are prepared to pay for premium. While sports and latest movie releases are key drivers, Arabic movies and Arabic content should not be ignored, especially in Egypt. In order to offer a truly premium service operators need to think beyond just the content however. The availability of different payment options and attention to customer service are important. And delivery of a better high quality experience.