According to Ovum's OTT Video Subscription Service Provider Forecast: Middle East and Africa, 2011–22, there will be 12.94 million premium online video subscribers at the end of 2018. Africa will be underdeveloped at 1.31 million subscribers, but the Middle East presents strong uptake of subscription-based video on-demand (SVoD) and subscription-based linear online video (SLIN) services, driven by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
At 3 million, Netflix's subscriber base will be the largest, while Amazon has so far failed to attract more than 100,000 subscribers. Local and regional services in MEA like Starz Play Arabia, Naspers Showmax and others share a combined total more than twice the size of Netflix and Amazon. With SLIN services like OSN's Wavo and beIN Connect, linear online video is tipped for strong growth, reaching 2.65 million subscribers in 2018, a fifth of the market.
Source: Ovum, OTT Video Subscription Service Provider Forecast: Middle East and Africa, 2011–22
Notes: Based on total subscribers, including free trialists and paying subscribers, from SVOD and SLIN services in Africa & Middle East in 2018.
SVOD refers to Subscription Video On-demand.
SLIN refers to Subscription Linear, premium online streaming services that provide live and linear streaming of content including TV channels and live sports.
"Rapid growth in premium online video services across the Middle East and Africa is a sure sign that Internet TV is a truly global phenomenon," noted Tony Gunnarsson, principal analyst in Ovum's Media & Entertainment team.
"Consumers in this region are clearly just as keen to pay to watch TV and movies on the Internet as consumers elsewhere. In line with trends observed around the world, Netflix here is also quickly becoming a must-have service. In the last six-18 months, linear online platforms -- services that stream not just movies on-demand but also live TV channels and sports -- will further boost the development of the OTT video market in this region. Subscription linear online video services, or SLINs, are already making up one-fifth of the overall market," said Gunnarsson.
Ismail Patel, research analyst in Ovum's Media & Entertainment team, added: "Our new OTT Video Service Provider Forecast complements Ovum's long-standing pay-TV coverage in this region. With a growing under-30s and mobile-first demographic, the Middle East is undergoing a great transformational phase. The rapid expansion in SVoD and SLIN services will be concurrent to the stable growth projected for pay TV over the next five years."
— From the team at Ovum, a data, research and consulting business.
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