Israel, Turkey to boost Mideast pay TV

Informa's research finds pay TV subs to grow to 7.7 mil by 2011

LONDON — The pay TV market in the Mideast and North Africa will grow by 47% over the next five years, driven by Israel and Turkey, rather than the region’s less Western-influenced countries where state broadcasters hold sway.

So concludes Informa Telecoms & Media, which carried out research on the matter.

“New private terrestrial channels are not launching in sufficient numbers to provide adequate competition to the lackluster state-owned networks. While this remains the situation, the market will fail to meet its potential,” warns Adam Thomas, media research manager for Informa.

Research firm estimates the region had 5.3 million pay TV subscribers at the end of last year. This will grow to 7.7 million by 2011, of which 5.5 million will be in Israel and Turkey, it figures.

Informa also discovered that of the region’s 53.8 million TV homes, 30.7 million have either satellite or cable, a 57.1% penetration.

By 2011, this is predicted to exceed 40 million, a 65.2% penetration.

“The region’s broadcast sector continues to exhibit encouraging signs,” Thomas says. “Several countries are looking towards market liberalization, and the TV sector is benefiting from this.

“Both Showtime Arabia and Al-Jazeera are considering an IPO, potentially giving investors access to two of the region’s high-profile TV brands.”

On the plus side, much of the region offers a common language and culture, a demographic skewed toward young adults, high rates of TV consumption and comparative wealth generated by oil revenues.

But across much of the Mideast and North Africa, pay TV operators sell to a relatively small wealthy population and expatriate community due to the big divide in income.

The 150-page report is titled “Middle East & North Africa TV” (3rd edition).

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