Online video revenues in MENA are expected to grow between 22% and 35% annually until 2021, according to a report by audit firm EY titled Videonomics.
“The region’s digital consumption growth is among the highest in the world,” says Ahmed Reda, MENA Telecommunication, Media and Technology Leader at EY. “A large youth population, fast-improving mobile connectivity and a flood of new streaming platforms into the market will continue to drive this growth over the next few years.”
The report adds that there is a trend towards a new generation of cord cutters who are moving directly to digital subscription. Digital video revenue is projected to grow from 9.6% of total video revenue in 2017 to 17.3% by 2021, with subscription and transactional revenues making up 45% of the digital segment.
Historically, free to air channels have dominated the region’s television market, with more than 90% of viewership coming from free to air channels in markets like the U.A.E., K.S.A. and Egypt. As a result, revenue has been centered around advertising, and although the region has added approximately 500 free to air channels in the last decade, they have experienced slow ad revenue growth. This indicates that the ad market may be nearing saturation, as it recorded negative growth in 2016 and 2017.
“To ride this new wave, content creators will need to focus on multi language offerings, partnerships across the video value chain, analytics and customer centricity,” says Nripendra Singh, the director of media and entertainment for EY Africa, India and the Middle East.
But trends vary in different MENA markets; around 15% of Jordanian households regularly watch videos online, compared to around 42% in the U.A.E. The MENA region is also increasingly consuming videos through mobiles. According to Google data, there has been a 90% year-on year growth in mobile video consumption while YouTube watch time in the region has been rising by 60% year on year.