Untapped demand for local Arabic content will spur rapid regional media growth over the next five years, according to a new study unveiled at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit today.
The study looks in-depth at three key media sectors in the region: audio-visual content, gaming, and e-commerce.
The joint study undertaken by management consultancy Strategy& and Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi, twofour54, also found that accelerated adoption of mobile technology, evolutions in paid and digital media, and a new wave of unique youth-produced content will be key factors in driving media growth in the region.
The audio-visual content market in MENA is seeing many trends that could significantly change the industry. The most notable of these is the transition to paid media. Pay TV is forecast to grow at 10.3% per year, compared to ad-based TVs 7.8%. Satellite TV continues to dominate the sector, accounting for more than 95% of TV distribution.
The study predicts significant growth in digital delivery of audio-visual content, driven by the emergence of youth-produced content and proliferation of new distribution platforms such as IPTV and over-the-top (OTT) sites. For example EyshElly, a programme created by UTURN Entertainment, set up in 2010 by three Saudi university students, received approximately 2.2 million subscribers and 245 million views on YouTube.
Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi, twofour54, said: “The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) media industry is undergoing a fascinating transformation. Cultural shifts among the region’s young people have spawned a tremendous creative energy, changing the way media is both consumed and created.”
“The MENA media market’s evolution is encouraging regional players to revisit their business models and explore investments in high-quality local content. With MENA one of the strongest opportunities for media industry growth, these findings should encourage global players to re-evaluate their presence in our region,” she added.