A combined total of 151 channels are provided by the four subscription-based satellite channels in the Arab world, with OSN leading the pack in terms of volume of content, according to a new survey from Arab Advisors Group.
In addition to Dubai-based OSN, Qatar's Al Jazeera Sport offers 20 channels, providing the largest amount of subscription-based sports programming, while Al Majd TV, owned by Saudi businessman Abdur-Rahman Ashmemri, has the fewest paid channels, including an Arabic news service, Arabic documentary channels and Arabic children's channels.
Abu Dhabi TV Network, which has recently added extra entertainment and sports content after losing the regional broadcast rights for the English Premier League to Al Jazeera Sport, provides its entire pay-TV offering in high definition (HD).
"By August 2013, the four pay-TV providers offered 151 channels. OSN had the highest number with 102 channels (including the three pay-per-view channels and on-demand channel), Abu Dhabi Sports and Al Jazeera Sport+ came in second with 20 channels each, while Al Majd TV provided nine encoded channels," said Hiba Al Atiyat, research analyst, Arab Advisors Group.
"Despite the promotions of pay-TV operators, most of the Arab world remains tuned to free-to-air (FTA) satellite TV channels. Economically, many viewers seem to favour the free content of FTA channels rather than paying for TV content," she added.
The region's latest pay-TV operator, My-HD, was not included in the report.