STARZPLAY reveals 141% yearly growth in unique streaming users | Media Analysis | Business
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Leading MENA subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service STARZPLAY has reported robust unique user growth in April 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in the region.
STarzplay consumption 16Sep2020
According to The Rise and Rise of Streaming Video in the MENA Market report, conducted by global insights consultancy PSB Research, examining SVOD trends over a period from January 2019 to May 2020, STARZPLAY’s streaming users grew by 141% on an annual basis.

The study covered two key phases for the region: the COVID-19 situation that led to lockdowns and Ramadan, when home-entertainment typically spikes in the region. It presented streaming video trends under three broad divisions: SVOD in the new normal, following the Covid-19 crisis; SVOD growth trends during Ramadan; and overall content and consumption trends.

STARZPLAY recorded strong and sustained growth in the number of unique users from 2019, growing its user base by over 40% during 2019 and growth took off with the active user base more than doubling from January 2019 to April 2020. Growth hit a high during the peak of COVID-19, when severe travel restrictions and lockdowns were enforced in key markets. Between January 2019 and April 2020, STARZPLAY’s active user base increased by 141%, the growth gaining traction from January 2020 (42%), February (41%), March (89%), and April (141%).

The number of new subscribers across all markets increased by 58% between February and April 2020, and continued to maintain growth levels in May, higher than the pre-Covid months. Subscribers also consumed more content during Covid-19, with an increase of 50% in streaming hours per unique user.

Prior to the pandemic, STARZPLAY users averaged around 12 hours per month in 2019. However, consumption increased to 13 hours in February 2020, 15 hours in March, and 17 hours in April. More subscribers watched STARZPLAY content in May 2020, recording a peak of 19 hours, coinciding with Ramadan.

The key finding on consumption trends during Ramadan is that while the festival a year ago had the lowest usage by STARZPLAY subscribers during the year, 2020 saw streaming levels spike. A week-on-week comparison of the four weeks Ramadan in 2019 and 2020, indicate a significant surge in consumption of STARZPLAY content by its users. The total consumption of STARZPLAY content during Ramadan 2020 more than tripled compared to the same period in 2019.

Though English content remains the dominant choice, Arabic content doubled its share of total consumption reaching a peak in the early stages of the pandemic. On average, the hours streamed in Arabic has increased from just about 5%in January 2019 to about 10%in January 2020. Five times more Arabic content was streamed during COVID-19 months than at the start of the year.

Looking at the countries of the region, the UAE was found to be the largest growth market for STARZPLAY with users growing 70% year-on-year and the number of hours by user increasing nearly 80%. The nation also has one of the lowest ratios of new subscribers to carry-over users even during Covid-19, a strong indicator said the survey of growth via retention and the future potential of the market in addition to an increase in STARZPLAY content consumption on TV during Covid-19.

Analysing the trends revealed by the Rise and Rise of Streaming Video in the MENA Market report,he Rise and Rise of Streaming Video in the MENA Market report, STARZPLAY co-founder and CEO Maaz Sheikh said the data showed just how the region has adapted to streaming video and the growing popularity of STARZPLAY’s balanced portfolio of content, both in Arabic and English. “Covid-19 has fundamentally altered how entertainment is consumed in the region, as elsewhere across the world,” he said. “Our year-on-year growth is led by our focus on meeting the aspirations of our subscribers by offering content that is truly relevant to them…The findings will enable us to hone our content and offering further and assure greater value to our subscribers.