Starz Play hails 4th year with 26% share of MENA’s OTT sector | VOD | News | Rapid TV News
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Digital streaming platform Starz Play has sewn up over a quarter of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) over-the-top (OTT) video market in its first three years of operation, according to IHS Markit data.

maz starzplay2018The online subscription video market currently accounts for about 25% of the pay-TV market in MENA. However, this is set to rise to more than 50% by 2020, the analyst predicts.

Between 2013 and 2022, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of online video subscriptions is forecast at 64.2%, while the pay-TV market will grow by just 6.1%. In this period, IHS Market predicts OTT subscriptions in MENA will rise above five million, with international subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services accounting for around half of these.

Commenting on the research, Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, principal research analyst at IHS Markit, said: “Starz Play deserves the leading seat in 2017 in both subscriptions and revenues as it had successfully implemented a strategy focusing on partnerships with telcos and pay-TV operators, on a pricing regime that varied depending on the region, on offering quality local content and content with high relevance to some MENA regions. This policy has paid off as STARZ Play subscriptions experienced a staggering growth of rate of 112% between 2015 and 2017.”

Starz Play now leads the region’s subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market with a 26% share, followed by Netflix with 16% and Icflix with 11%. In terms of revenue, Starz Play is also in pole position with 28% followed by Netflix with 21%.

Around half of Starz Play’s subscriber base comes from Saudi Arabia, with 30% of sign-ups coming from the Kingdom. Most of its other customers are based in the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. To help drive subscriptions, the Dubai-based SVOD operator has sealed deals with regional telcos including Etisalat, du, Saudi Telecom Group, Ooredoo Group, Orange Jordan, Orange Egypt and Orange Morocco.

“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 (pictured), 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.”