Analyst says Starz Play is SVOD market leader in MENA

According to a study by analyst IHS Markit the subscription video-on-demand service is leading the way with 26% of market share compared to Netflix at 16% and ICFLIX at 11%.
Maaz Sheikh, president of Starz Play.
Maaz Sheikh, president of Starz Play.


Starz Play which has just celebrated its 3rd anniversary currently has the highest market share in MENA, more than rivals Netflix and Icflix based on a new study released by IHS Markit.

According to a study by analyst IHS Markit the subscription video-on-demand service is leading the way with 26% of market share compared to Netflix at 16% and ICFLIX at 11%. Starz Play is also rated number one in the repot in terms of MENA revenues, estimated at 28%, followed by Netflix at 21%. Starz Play sees its subscribers split fairly equal between KSA and the rest of the GCC, with 30% of sign-ups coming from the important Saudi market.

While the online subscription video market (OTT) only currently accounts for around 25% of the Pay TV market in MENA, this is set to increase to more than 50% by 2020, indicating the growing market for on demand video services. 

These growth rates show no sign of slowing down, either, and will continue unabated for the next five years dependent on content, localization, partnerships and pricing. According to the study by IHS Markit, the annual growth rate of online video subscriptions between 2013 and 2022 is predicted to be 64.2% with over 5 million OTT subscribers. In comparison, the pay TV market is estimated to grow at only 6.1%.

“We launched Starz Play in April 2015, and since then we have watched it grow from a start-up with an inaugural team of just 15 to an industry-leader employing 100 extremely talented individuals,” said Maaz Sheikh, CEO and co-founder of Starz Play.

“Not only have we managed to secure investment funds of US$125 million during that short time, we have also strengthened our service exponentially with brand new features such as our download function, formed a wealth of strategic partnerships with major telecommunications providers and developed a world-class technology service across all leading platforms, today boasting more than 10,000 hours of content.”

STARZ PLAY has benefited from being one of the first SVOD services to enter the market, as well as successfully addressing ease of payment for users by establishing deals with an extensive range regional telcos, including Etisalat, du, Saudi Telecom Group, Ooredoo Group, Orange Jordan, Orange Egypt and Orange Morocco. Mobile payment is a vital factor in a market that has a low penetration of credit cards as a considerable part of the population outside the Gulf doesn’t have a bank account.

IHS Markit principal research analyst, Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, said that Starz Play has successfully implemented a strategy focused on telco and pay TV operator partnerships, pricing that varies depending on region, and a content offering that has high relevance to different MENA regions.

“This policy has paid off as Starz Play subscriptions experienced a staggering growth of rate of 112% between 2015 and 2017,” said Papavassilopoulos.

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