Middle East free-to-air channel growth slows

Total number of channels reaches 487; annual expansion just 2.7%.
FTA satellite TV dominates the Middle East broadcasting industry.
FTA satellite TV dominates the Middle East broadcasting industry.


The growth rate of free-to-air (FTA) channels in the Middle East has slowed to just 2.7 percent between April 2009 and April 2010, according to the latest report from the Arab Advisors Group.

The research found that there are now 487 FTA channels broadcasting on Nilesat, Arabsat and Noorsat with 13 new channels emerging between March 2009 and April 2010 compared to 104 new additions between August 2007 and March 2009.

Of the 448 fully launched channels, 16.5 percent are based in Saudi Arabia.

The most common genre of the FTA stations are general-private sector channels, which constitute a share of 19.6 percent. General Government sector channels make up 12.7 percent of the total.

“In line with the liberalisation of the audio visual sectors in the region, the number of private satellite channels exceeds the number of government owned channels,” said Danya Nusseir, senior research analyst, Arab Advisors Group. “At present, 69.9 percent of the fully launched FTA channels are privately owned while 29 percent are government owned.”

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