The Middle East Media and Entertainment Market is expected to reach a CAGR of 13.5% during the forecast period 2020-2025. Growing trends around personalization and increased digitalization?, significant growth in online Gaming, OTT, and internet advertising are some of the major factors driving the growth of the market. The use of social media is growing across Saudi Arabia, a trend of interest to brands, agencies, and media companies alike for advertisements. According to GSMA, the region has 44% mobile social media penetration, which is double as compared to 5 years ago. Facebook now accounts for 187 million active monthly users in the region. The social network in Saudi Arabia has more than 10 million active users, akin to 38% of the population, and 8.3 million in Turkey (13%).
- The market also witnessed significant changes in the last couple of years. One of the biggest milestones was the opening of the Saudi Arabia cinema market. With the growing demand for leisure and entertainment across the region, the media and entertainment industry in the nation is likely to record considerable growth over the coming years. - Moreover, the television sector in the region is also going through a transition. The market that is dominated by free-to-air, direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting until now, is increasingly being populated by the new pay-TV and OTT players. GCC countries are increasingly investing in upgrading technology owing to broadband initiatives by various nations to support OTT videos. An increasing number of broadcasting networks such as Starz Play, icflix, Istikana, and Netflix, operating globally and locally, are offering subscription-based VOD services for viewers in the region.? - During the lockdown, the media and entertainment industries are thriving in the digital space. Changes are implemented by film distributors to address the difficulty of releasing movies in theatres. One of the solutions is to use transactional video-on-demand platforms for new releases. Similarly, the consumption of music, video, gaming, and other forms of entertainment has grown during the time of lockdown and may change the way of operating permanently. For instance, MBC Group has reported a significant surge in its overall performance, as well as its individual channels. MBC Group’s television rating points (TRPs) increased by 13 percent in the third week of March as compared to February, while the average time spent per day on television rose by 11 percent to 5.6 hours.
Key Market Trends Video on Demand Segment is Expected to Witness Significant Growth
- Increased penetration of mobile devices and faster and cheaper internet connectivity, as well as a shift from traditional payment models to the subscription-based payment model, has increased the growth of video on demand across the region. Moreover, increased emphasis on enhanced customer experience is leading to the revamping of streaming platforms giving customers an overall control of what to watch, where, and how. - For instance, in December 2019, Orbit Showtime Network has revamped its streaming platform named WAVO in the Middle East. The revamp has changed the linear TV viewing to non-linear, which has eliminated the need to follow a fixed schedule pre-planned by the TV network. - According to Mideastmedia, as of 2019, the use of traditional media has declined in all surveyed countries. The percentage of nationals who watch TV fell most sharply in Qatar and Jordan from 2013 to 2019 (down 26 and 22 percentage points, respectively). - With the rise of Video-on-demand and streaming services, the market for OTT players has become highly competitive. The penetration of these services is also less in this region as compared to other parts of the world and posses threat from foreign competitors such as Apple TV and Disney. However, it is difficult for a few players to gain significant market share as low subscription prices allow customers to have more than one service.
Advertising is Expected to Witness Moderate Growth in Traditional Media
- The advertising segment is expected to grow at a moderate rate in traditional media due to the introduction of new online channels. As of 2019, print newspaper readership declined by more than 50 percentage points in Qatar and the UAE and by more than 30 points in Tunisia and Jordan. Although newspaper readership fell by 15 points in Saudi Arabia, 44% of Saudis still read a print newspaper. Radio use increased by 10% points in Egypt from 2013 to 2019. - The gaming industry is also booming in the Middle East, leading to the growth of increased downloads of mobile applications. As a result, many players are advertising over these apps giving rise to in-app purchases. The increase in the use of social platforms by the youth of the region has also increased the growth of online advertisements. For instance, Instagram has 60% of users in the age bracket of 18-24 years. - Moreover, Social media influencers have a strong presence in the region, attracting the younger population of the which is more than 50% of the total population and hence has become a new channel to publicize any type of media. Though the online media has grown significantly, the government imposes stringent regulations on the type of content used in advertisements. - The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) also monitors online advertising in its enforcement of the IAM policy and has discretion to block online content if found contrary to the policy and other local legislation. Furthermore, advertisements that are produced, placed or distributed within the UAE or imported into the UAE must abide by the national standards for media content and the Media Law.
Competitive Landscape The market is highly competitive, with the presence of major international players. The market presents opportunities for growth during the forecast period, which is expected to further drive the competition. With few players holding a significant share, the market has an observable level of consolidation.
- April 2020 - Orbit Showtime Network (OSN), one of the leading entertainment networks in the region, signed a hallmark multi-year deal with Intigral, the media arm of STC and leading provider of digital entertainment and sports in MENA, for its flagship Home and OTT service, Jawwy TV. - February 2020 - Government-owned Abu Dhabi Media announced a new range of programs across all its platforms, as well as the relaunch of ADTV, AD Sports, and AD Radio. As part of an ongoing transformation, Abu Dhabi Media updated its brand websites, launched new digital platforms, and has enabled Apple TV and Alexa smart speaker applications.
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