Future of SVOD in Arabic Markets

The following column addresses the growth of SVOD subscribers in the Arabic Markets and the possible reasons for its growth.

The future of subscription video-on-demand market in the Arabic countries is set for a period of rapid growth in subscribers as forecasted by the Digital TV research. The research claims that from the existing 8.61 million subscribers for SVOD platforms in 2021, the number will grow to 15 million SVOD subscriptions by 2026. This number is projected for 13 Arabic countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and UAE.

According to the projections, Netflix is set to dominate the field as the number of subscribers are to reach 5.413 million in 2026 in comparison to the present 3.446 million. This growth can be attributed to the approach Netflix has taken while producing content for the region. Netflix pays serious attention to the home grown content and the power of local filmmakers which makes it very popular amongst the audience. To reiterate we can take a look at a statement from Pelin Distas, Netflix’s Director of Original Content for Turkey.

“We believe that Turkey is one of the major creative centers for great storytelling that resonates around the world. Therefore, ramping up our investment with our new originals makes us extremely excited. We’re proud to continue creating global opportunities for the talented artists of this great country and sharing their authentic stories with our members in Turkey and around the world.”

Pelin Distas, Director of Original Content, NetflixTurkey

It can be said with a degree of certainty that the approach of supporting home-grown artists is not just limited to Turkey but to all of the Arabic market.

Following Netflix, the forecast projected that OSN will take the 2nd place with an expected 2.562 million subscribers to join the platform by 2026. A part of OSN’s upcoming subscriber base can be attributed to its content supply agreement with Disney+. The 3rd place according to the report will go to StarzPlay with an expected 2.21 million subscribers by 2026.

Amidst all the projections, there has been a word of caution by the Principal analyst at Digital TV research, Simon Murray.

“Although overall subscriber numbers will climb impressively, there are just too many Arabic platforms. We do not believe that the market can sustain this many Arabic platforms as few of them offer much original or exclusive content.”

Simon Murray, Principal Analyst, Digital TV Research

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