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1Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
Over-the-Top Video (OTTv)
in the Middle East:
How to Win the Market
With growing demand among Middle East viewers
for online video content, new players cast in the Netflix
mold are competing with traditional TV companies
for a market potentially worth $1 billion by 2020.
1Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
Around the world, over-the-top video (OTTv) is becoming more mainstream.1
These services
as a share of total television viewing have doubled globally over the past 12 months and exceed
30 percent in some developed economies. In the United States, 75 million households have an
active OTTv subscription, compared to 32 million just four years ago.
Fueling this trend is the emergence of an abundance of user-friendly OTTv services, coupled with
the increasing quantity and quality of content available online. Netflix launched its streaming
service in 2007. As of April 2014, it was being used by 50 million people in 41 countries. Hulu, the
OTTv service from NBC Universal, Disney, and Fox, now has six million paying U.S. subscribers.
More pay TV operators are offering multiscreen packages to their subscribers and online-only
packages to nonsubscribers in a bid to compete head-on with Netflix and similar services.
In the Middle East, OTTv is still nascent by global standards. Fewer than 100,000 homes subscribe
to dedicated commercial OTTv services—less than 1 percent of television-viewing households.2
Yet despite the low penetration, interest is strong—as suggested by the popularity of online short
video services such as YouTube—and a flurry of new services has emerged (see figure 1). Etisalat
introduced its eLife TV app on iOS in 2013, just one year after MBC’s Shahid TV app became the top
downloaded app in the Middle East App Store. Istikana and icflix, which follow a Netflix model,
launched the region’s first major standalone OTTv services in 2011 and 2013 respectively. OSN
recently followed by announcing the launch of Go by OSN for non-pay TV subscribers. In 2014,
beIN SPORTS relaunched its OTT service and began selling multiscreen subscriptions, and MBC
partnered with Samsung to launch Shahid on smart TVs.
1
Select broadcasters only
Notes: OTT is over-the-top, IPTV is Internet protocol television, and DTH is direct-to-home. Most IPTV providers with OTT services chiefly offer video on
demand through set-top boxes.
Sources: Company information; A.T. Kearney analysis
Figure 1
Middle East television market landscape
IPTV
providers
Content creation Aggregation Distribution Delivery
Studios
IPTV providers
Du Etisalat Ooredoo
Pure OTT
players
Mobily STC Selevision
DTH
pay TV
providers
Satellite operators
Arabsat
Nilesat
Es’hailSat
Eutelsat
OSN
Go by OSN OSN Play
beIN SPORTS
beIN SPORTS Connect
My-HD
icflix
istikana
Broad-
casters1
MBC
Shahid
Rotana
Abu Dhabi Media
AlMajd Network
Channels InfrastructureTV platforms OTT platforms
MBC Rotana Nile TV Dubai Television ART Al Jazeera
1
	 In this paper, OTTv is defined as live streaming or on-demand video content offered on the open Internet, whether free or in exchange
for payment. Internet protocol television (IPTV) is not included, as it is provided over a dedicated, managed network.
2
	 The Middle East is defined in this paper as the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
2Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
With so many players positioning themselves to capture a share of the emerging OTTv market,
several important questions arise: How much potential does the market actually offer? What can
be done to maximize that potential? And who is best positioned to profit?
Spurring Growth of the Middle East OTTv Market
To better understand the potential for OTTv services in the Middle East and draw out the
implications for market players, we surveyed 45 senior decision makers in the region
representing the full television ecosystem: satellite pay TV operators, telecom operators,
pure OTTv service providers, broadcasters, content producers, advertising agencies, and
technology companies. Together, the companies they represent cover nearly 100 percent
of the Middle East’s pay TV market and more than 75 percent of TV viewership. To incorporate
consumer insights into our analysis, we surveyed nearly 6,400 consumers across all age
and income groups in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Morocco,
and Algeria.
Not surprisingly, the most crucial growth drivers that audiovisual executives cite are content,
network speed, and devices. Other important factors include antipiracy measures, pricing,
advertising revenue, and regulatory frameworks (see figure 2).
How important are the following factors to enable growth of paid OTTv?
(as rated by Middle East television industry executives)
Note: OTTv is over-the-top video.
Source: A.T. Kearney 2014 Middle East TV Executive Survey
Figure 2
Key factors for OTTv growth
Capture of
advertising
revenue
(Super-)fast
networks
Affordable
and flexible
pricing
Collaboration
on piracy
Device
availability
and user
interface
More
regulatory
collaboration
Moderate
importance
Critical
importance
Great
content
Key factors
for paid
OTTv growth
Increasing importance
3Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
Great content
The old adage “content is king” remains truer than ever for OTTv services. Today, many OTTv
platforms focus on films and fail to address consumers’ desires for a broader array of content.
Considering the Middle East’s multicultural nature, the content lineup needs to be much more
varied than Hollywood blockbusters; it must also include Arabic or Bollywood content. For the
more conservative part of the population, particular attention needs to be paid to offering a
“safe” viewing environment.
Executives see the largest potential for services in series, films, and sports, followed by children’s
programs and documentaries (see figure 3). Crucially, with close to a thousand satellite channels
available for free, OTTv platforms need to secure access to marquee premium rights—rights that
today are largely in the hands of the two leading pay TV platforms, beIN SPORTS and OSN.
How much will consumption of the following genres on OTT take off in the next five years?
(as rated by Middle East television industry executives; 5=high, 1=low)
Note: OTTv is over-the-top video.
Source: A.T. Kearney 2014 Middle East TV Executive Survey
Figure 3
OTTv adoption by genre
4.3
Entertainment
series
4.3
Films
4.2
Sports
3.8
Children’s
programs
2.7
Documentaries
The diversity of the Middle East provides both challenges and opportunities. Our consumer
survey indicates considerable variation between consumer segments in their movies and series
preferences (see figure 4 on page 4). A one-size-fits-all approach will therefore limit reach. This
also suggests the potential for niche plays that could be based on relatively low-cost content,
for example in comedy movies targeted at South Asians or action series for East Asian viewers.
Language is another factor to consider. Eighty-one percent of Arab respondents prefer to watch
series in their native Arabic, while their preferred language for movies is English.
Super-fast networks
According to Netflix, a download connection speed of five megabits per second is ideal for
high-definition viewing, though speeds of just three megabits per second are acceptable for
standard definition. In the Middle East, the availability and affordability of super-fast networks
varies significantly among countries. In GCC countries, fiber optic and xDSL connections are
nearly universally available. In fact, the United Arab Emirates has the highest penetration of
fiber-to-the-home anywhere in the world, standing at 72 percent in September 2014.
4Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
In the rest of the Middle East, however, fixed broadband connections will remain confined to
higher-income households, with penetration rates not expected to exceed 10 to 15 percent of
households by 2019. Increased deployment of high-speed mobile networks provides a viable
alternative from a performance perspective. The challenge, however, will be to find an
economic model that compensates the costs of carrying massive amounts of data traffic on
wireless networks.
As a result, OTTv services will prove more successful initially in the more advanced GCC markets
than elsewhere in the region.
The growthdriversexecutivescitemost
are content, network speed, and devices.
Device availability and user interface
The Middle East is quickly becoming one of the leading regions in the world in terms of smart
device adoption. Among the consumers in our survey, smartphone penetration stands at
90 percent for higher-income consumers and 66 percent for lower-income segments. Tablet
penetration is 60 and 27 percent respectively.
Content genre preference
(based on viewing hours)
Language preference
(Arab respondents)
1
Including Egypt
Note: Percentages may not resolve due to rounding.
Sources: Audience survey; A.T. Kearney analysis
Movies
Series
Arab (Middle East)1 13% 16% 35% 9% 27%
14% 18% 29% 9% 30%
10% 9% 44% 9% 28%
9% 9% 38% 14% 30%
15% 11% 35% 7% 32%
Arab (North Africa)
South Asian
East Asian
Western
Arab (Middle East)1 43% 16% 22% 6% 13%
43% 19% 15% 8% 15%
49% 15% 22% 10%
45% 16% 15% 22%
34% 29% 21% 15%
Arab (North Africa)
South Asian
East Asian
Western
Figure 4
Content genre and language preference by segment
Drama
Thriller
or crime
Comedy
Animated
Action
1%
2%
4%
45%
Arabic47%
English
8%
Other
81%
Arabic
14%
English
4%
Other
5Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
For tablets, which executives believe will be the most commonly used device for OTTv
consumption, the number of users in the Middle East is expected to grow by 77 percent per
year between 2013 and 2017 (see figure 5). Smartphone penetration—perhaps the easiest way
to reach lower-income consumers—in the GCC countries is already among the highest in the
world. Smart TV penetration will also spike upward, with smart TVs accounting for 80 percent
of all new Middle East TV sales by 2017.
What will be the main devices where OTTv services will be consumed?
(as rated by Middle East television industry executives; 5=high usage, 1=low usage)
Note: OTTv is over-the-top video.
Source: A.T. Kearney 2014 Middle East TV Executive Survey
Figure 5
OTTv consumption by device
4.3
Tablets
3.8
Smartphones
3.7
Smart TVs
3.3
OTT boxes
or dongles
Experts heatedly debate whether consumers will prefer using OTTv services on small screens,
such as smartphones, or large screens, such as a television connected to a set-top box. In our
view, to become mainstream, OTTv services will need to be available with an acceptable quality,
user interface, and price on small and large screens alike because, among other reasons,
distribution on multiple platforms can improve affordability by eliminating the need for
consumers to buy additional hardware or devices.
In this regard, OTTv services should be made available not only on the provider’s own website
and app, but also on other connected platforms—including smart TVs, game consoles, digital
media players such as Apple TV, and smart dongles such as Chromecast. The key will be to
provide a quality front-end platform for advanced content and metadata management from
various providers—a platform that offers a consistent end-user experience, regardless of
content or device.
A high-quality, simple user interface that provides unique features that traditional broadcasting
cannot compete with will be essential. Content indexing, user-generated content ratings,
and content discovery features are also important. For example, Netflix uses keyword-based
content discovery to meet highly specific customer interests. This not only promotes usage
but also increases the personal connection with customers, which in turns paves the way for
targeted advertising.
6Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
Interestingly, even lower-income consumers consider multiscreen availability and advanced
features to be important. In our consumer survey, lower-income customers had an even higher
demand for content on demand and interactive viewing features than higher-income ones. To
realize full market potential, OTTv operators will need to partner with social networking, gaming,
and e-commerce providers to enhance the multiscreen experience, while also working with
content delivery networks to ensure quality of service.
Collaboration on piracy and regulation
Online piracy remains a common menace to broadcasters, pay TV operators, and OTTv
service providers. Our data suggests that although 27 million households across the Middle
East and Northern Africa have access to pay TV services, fewer than seven million are actually
paying for those services. Moreover, among the nonsubscribers we surveyed, 52 percent cite
the availability of free—possibly pirated—content as a reason not to pay.
Industry players will need to band together to work with specialized antipiracy agencies to
identify threats, Internet service providers to take down pirate sites, and national regulators
to provide the overall legal framework and strong deterrents. The recently formed Broadcast
Satellite Anti-Piracy Coalition had 18 members as of 2014, including IPTV providers (Etisalat and
du), broadcasters (MBC Group, Rotana, and ART) satellite service providers (Arabsat, Eutelsat,
Gulfsat, Nilesat, Noorsat, and Viewsat), direct-to-home provider OSN, and international rights
owners (Motion Picture Association of America and WWE)—demonstrating that
collaboration in this area is real.
Advertiser interest in OTTv will likely
require cross-platform cooperation.
Affordable and flexible pricing
The Middle East region is a very diverse market, with significant differences in purchasing power
across countries. Fortunately, micro-segmentation and targeted pricing models are easier to
implement in OTTv services than in other competing audiovisual offerings. One aspect, of
course, is to differentiate pricing between affluent and less affluent countries. Another is to target
customer segments with tailored services and flexible pricing, moving away from a standard
subscription model. For example, U.S. sports fans can buy season, team, week, day, event, or
even pay-by-the-hour packs, thereby increasing the reach and proportion of viewers who will pay
for content. Additionally, joining forces with payment service providers will help address the low
credit card and bank account penetration in most of the region.
Capturing advertising revenue
Another crucial aspect to keep pricing affordable for the mass market is to offset subscription fees
with advertising. Measuring a television audience is an inexact science in the Middle East,
leading to major market inefficiencies. Also, the inability to target specific countries with
traditional television advertising is a barrier to smaller advertisers and to those that want to
reach a specific audience. By providing opportunities for demographic, geographic, and even
behavioral targeting, OTTv offers the promise of a higher return on advertising spending.
7Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
Nonetheless, cross-platform cooperation will likely be required to secure advertiser interest in
this new format, given OTTv’s relatively lower reach over the next few years.
Growth Perspectives and Scenarios for OTTv Services
Today, the Middle East television market is worth $2.4 billion, of which OTTv constitutes less than
1 percent (see figure 6).3
Free-to-air (FTA) distribution captures the lion’s share with 63 percent,
followed by pay TV with 29 percent.
Based on the variables described in the previous section, we have developed three scenarios to
model the growth potential for OTTv services (see figure 7 on page 8). In the most conservative
one, OTTv remains a niche value proposition with limited impact on the overall market. In the
most optimistic one, OTTv services become mainstream and capture significant audience
share from FTA and pay TV.
3
	OTTv revenues refer to standalone OTTv subscriptions or pay-per-view services, such as live streaming or video on demand.
OTTv access bundled with other services is categorized elsewhere.
Notes: IPTV is Internet protocol television. OTTv is over-the-top video.
Source: A.T. Kearney analysis
Figure 6
Middle East television market profile
Revenue by segment and type
$ million, 2014e
80%
70%
60%
50%
30%
90%
20%
10%
0%
100%
40%
1,519
OTTv
21
(<1%)
Pay TV
IPTV
167
(7%)
167
Pay TV
direct-to-home
711
(29%)
150
561
Free-to-air
1,519
(63%)
9
12
OTTv = 2% of total
consumer-paid
revenues
OTTv = <1%
of total advertising
revenues
Consumer paid
Advertising
These scenarios echo the sentiment of executives, who were asked how quickly they expect the
OTTv services market to grow in the Middle East:
•	 Twenty-five percent believe growth will be between 10 and 25 percent per year, in line with
scenario 1.
•	 Forty percent expect growth to be between 25 and 50 percent per year, consistent with
scenario 2.
•	 Thirty-five percent say growth will exceed 50 percent annually, as in scenario 3.
•	 None believe growth will be less than 10 percent per year.
8Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
Scenario 1: Niche OTTv market
OTTv services remain a niche proposition and are largely positioned as a “free” add-on for pay TV
subscribers. Pure OTTv providers fail to gain significant market traction because of their inability
to acquire premium content rights. Piracy remains a major problem and inhibits consumers’
willingness to pay for additional video services. Linear television remains the main medium for
video consumption.
The total value of the OTTv market reaches $62 million in 2020, coming in at 2 percent of the
total television market. Thus, OTTv market share in the Middle East in 2020 is about half of its
2014 market share in the United States.
Scenario 2: Moderate OTTv growth
OTTv sees moderate adoption. OTTv providers with high-demand content similar to Netflix
emerge, but challenges in distribution and in securing full access to premium content inhibit
their ability to gain significant market share. Pay TV operators successfully market standalone
OTTv services to expand their customer franchise beyond their core subscriber base. But in the
absence of strong competition from OTTv service providers, they adopt a prudent commercial
strategy to avoid cannibalizing their current business.
The total value of the OTTv market reaches $329 million in 2020, equivalent to 9 percent of the
total television market.
Note: OTTv is over-the-top video.
Source: A.T. Kearney analysis
Figure 7
OTTv growth scenarios through 2020
Middle East OTTv market size
$ million
Consumer paid
Advertising
2014
21
Niche
market
62
47
Moderate
growth
342
227
115
Mass-market
development
1,059
2020
Scenario 3:
OTTv mass-market
development
644
415
14912
2020
Scenario 2:
Moderate
OTTv growth
2020
Scenario 1:
Niche
OTTv market
75
4,368
25
50
3,648
9
17.5
3,584
2
OTTv CAGR 2014–2020 (%)
Total TV market size ($ million)
OTTv share (% of total)
2014
2,418
<1
9Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
Scenario 3: OTTv mass-market development
OTTv becomes a mass-market service. Service providers gain substantial access to premium
content. In reaction, pay TV operators aggressively commercialize standalone OTTv services
alongside their multiscreen packages. Broadcasters compete aggressively with a full range of
live, catch-up, and video-on-demand services. Piracy is successfully tackled.
The total value of the OTTv market reaches $1 billion in 2020, or 25 percent of the television
market—equivalent to its market share in the United States in that same year. In other words,
the Middle East OTTv market will be almost as mature and developed as the U.S. market.
And the Winner Is …
Asked which type of player is best positioned to win in the Middle East OTTv market, nearly
40 percent of the executives we surveyed cite standalone providers. But pay TV and telecom
operators were also seen as serious competitors (see figure 8).
Who is best positioned to win in the OTTv services market?
(according to Middle East television industry executives; % of respondents)
Note: OTTv is over-the-top video.
Source: A.T. Kearney 2014 Middle East TV Executive Survey
Figure 8
Predicted winners in OTTv
5%
Dedicated OTTv service providers
Satellite pay TV operators
Telecom operators
Content producers
Free-to-air broadcasters
40%
10%
15%
30%
In our opinion, the Middle East is unique, and lessons from other international markets might not
apply entirely. The game is still open, and each type of player has unique assets to capitalize on
and different strategies to consider (see figure 9 on page 10).
Direct-to-home satellite pay TV operators
Pay TV operators leave the gate with a strong position, thanks to their existing subscriber
relationships and customer knowledge, multiplatform distribution capabilities, and access to
10Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
premium content. This provides the basis to cross-sell OTTv services to their customers and to
heavily promote standalone, low-cost services to most of the population that today does not pay
for content and is reluctant to commit to a long-term subscription. Sky Go in the United Kingdom
has reached nearly three million active users, compared to its 10 million satellite TV subscribers.
This service is combined with a portfolio of other digital properties, including news and
information sites, fantasy sports, betting, and social media, to create a full digital ecosystem
that supports its OTT offering. Sky also purchased a stake in Zeebox, a pioneering second-
screen interactive application, to bolster its television and OTTv service.
The most difficult part for pay TV operators is to adopt a segmented strategy to maximize reach,
but without encouraging customers to cannibalize the core business by cherry-picking content at
a lower cost. Traditional pay TV will remain their main revenue driver for the foreseeable future, so
pay TV operators need to focus on developing a portfolio of products that combines multiscreen
subscription packages targeted at heavy-usage customers and OTTv-only packages for
light-usage and lower-end customers.
And crucially, pay TV operators need to ensure competing OTTv services do not become a Trojan
horse that causes them to lose exclusive rights over premium content.
Telecom operators
Telecom operators are eager to find new revenue streams, and cross-selling television and video
services to their extensive customer base is a sterling opportunity. Telecom operators control the
transmission networks, which gives them an edge in managing service quality and economics.
Notes: OTTv is over-the-top video. DTH is direct-to-home.
Source: A.T. Kearney analysis
Figure 9
Position by type of company
Type of operator Broadcasters Pure OTTv players
Examples OSN, beIN SPORTS, MyHD,
Abu Dhabi Media, Etisalat,
Ooredoo, du, STC, Mobily
MBC, Rotana, ART, al Jazeera icflix, istikana, YouTube,
Cinemoz
Key strengths • Customer relationships and
knowledge
• Physical distribution network
• Ability to bundle (for IPTV
providers)
• Extensive content rights,
including archives
• Strong and trusted brands
• Advertising relationships
• No legacy cost base
• No core business to
cannibalize
• Speed of movement
Key challenges • Avoid cannibalizing core pay
TV business with standalone
OTT services
• Acquire online content
rights from studios
• Overcome lack of advertising
scale (in most cases)
• Avoid damaging core TV
advertising business
• Build consumer relationships
• Obtain scale and content
for a strong platform (in the
case of smaller players)
• Fund investment in content
• Build brand equity
• Establish customer and
advertiser relationships
International
success stories
• Sky, Verizon • Hulu, BBC iPlayer • Netflix, Amazon
Pay TV providers
(DTH satellite, telcom
operators)
11Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
Indeed, most large telecom operators in the Middle East have already launched IPTV services
and distribute pay TV channels from OSN and beIN SPORTS, among others. Some are already
commercializing video-on-demand services over fixed broadband networks. Their IPTV boxes
are already installed in many households, which gives them a natural gateway to control access
to the large screen. In the United States, Verizon has gone one step further by providing OTT
broadcasting over its mobile network. In 2014, Verizon offered its subscribers the Super Bowl
over its own multicast LTE platform.
One challenge Middle East telecom operators face is lack of regional scale, as most are strong
in only one country. Investments in IPTV platforms and content are substantial and would be
more economically viable if made for a broader geographical reach.
As a result, telecom operators need to evaluate two very different alternatives: launching their
own pan-regional OTTv platform or scaling down their IPTV investments by setting up
partnerships.
Standalone OTTv service providers
The emergence of OTTv provides a window of opportunity for new players to enter the Middle
East television market. These include both regional players such as icflix and global contenders
such as Netflix, Amazon, and Apple.
Standalone providers have the advantage of being able to move quickly, without the constraints
and cannibalization risks associated with a legacy television business. However, new entrants
will need to invest heavily in content, branding, and customer and advertiser relationships to
compete with the established pay TV operators and broadcasters. In addition, gaining access to
premium content is likely to prove challenging, particularly for regional providers. For global
players, on the other hand, their relationships and scale could be instrumental in encouraging
rights owners to open up access to premium content.
There are also opportunities to innovate in content. First, a wealth of Arabic archive content is
not yet available or monetized and could be acquired at a relatively low cost. Second, moving
upstream to invest selectively in original programming or signing primary film deals, as Netflix
did with the hit series House of Cards and its four-film deal with Adam Sandler, is costly and has
risks but can create a major impact and help operators break into the market if well executed.
Finally, investing in non-Arabic content to serve the many ethnic communities in the region can
provide a differentiating position.
Broadcasters
Broadcasters such as MBC and Rotana can take advantage of their strong audiences and content
rights ownership, and OTTv offers them the opportunity to increase viewership of their content.
This is a growing trend globally. In the United States, 2014 saw the launch of HBO Go and CBS All
Access, providing these broadcasters with direct access to consumers, bypassing their traditional
pay TV operator partners. If they choose this route, the ability to monetize online audiences will be
essential to avoid cannibalizing existing television advertising revenues.
With the possible exception of MBC, however, broadcasters may face a scale problem, as an OTTv
platform offering a limited number of channels and narrow content will struggle to compete.
In this case, broadcasters would face two options: either partnering with a pay TV provider or OTT
player to get their video service hosted on their platforms or joining forces with other broadcasters
12Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market
to co-own a service distributed through their own and third-party platforms. Given the highly
fragmented Middle East FTA market, the second option can work in this region. The success of
Hulu in the United States and the attempt by the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 to launch a similar
service in the United Kingdom (though ultimately blocked by the regulator) vouch for the
practicality of cooperative competition—or “co-opetition.”
The broadcasters’ strategy should consider linear live television and subscription-based video-
on-demand services. However, the bias of FTA viewing toward entertainment series indicates
potentially strong demand for a catch-up service. This is also supported by the huge success of
the BBC iPlayer, which is used by four out of 10 online adults in the United Kingdom. The iPlayer
is based on a seven-day catch-up service, which soon will be extended to 30 days.
Large broadcasters should also look for opportunities to monetize their extensive content,
including deep archive material. MBC has been broadcasting since 1991 and ART since 1954. There
is a wealth of historical Arabic content that could be digitized and made available on demand.
Finding the optimal commercial model is key. Consumers’ willingness to pay for content is
low, especially for content that is on FTA channels. Therefore, stimulating the growth of online
advertising will be vital—for example, by striking cross-platform advertising deals.
Prepare Today to Grow Tomorrow
OTTv has clear growth potential in the Middle East, but a number of conditions are required for
it to fully develop. Consumers have an appetite for these services, so supply will be the main
driving factor. Great content, multi-platform distribution, and an intuitive user interface are
part of the recipe to secure consumer adoption. Industrywide collaboration to combat piracy,
with regulatory support, and developing a targeted advertising platform are essential to
establish a sound base for growth.
OTTv will likely take time to gain a foothold in the Middle East. Forward-thinking contenders will
need to establish their positions now while also taking a long-term investment view. Although
OTTv will revolutionize the way people view television in the long term, traditional pay TV and
linear FTA will remain mainstream for the foreseeable future. Understanding and managing the
consumption, content, and competitive dynamics of the market is the key challenge facing all
players looking to win in the OTTv market.
Authors
Laurent Viviez, partner, Dubai
laurent.viviez@atkearney.com
Christophe Firth, consultant, Dubai
christophe.firth@atkearney.com
Marc Biosca, partner, Dubai
marc.biosca@atkearney.com
The authors would like to thank Omar Abou Faraj for his valuable contributions to this paper.
A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more
than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world's foremost
organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients
achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical
issues. For more information, visit www.atkearney.com.
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Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market

  • 1. 1Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market With growing demand among Middle East viewers for online video content, new players cast in the Netflix mold are competing with traditional TV companies for a market potentially worth $1 billion by 2020.
  • 2. 1Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market Around the world, over-the-top video (OTTv) is becoming more mainstream.1 These services as a share of total television viewing have doubled globally over the past 12 months and exceed 30 percent in some developed economies. In the United States, 75 million households have an active OTTv subscription, compared to 32 million just four years ago. Fueling this trend is the emergence of an abundance of user-friendly OTTv services, coupled with the increasing quantity and quality of content available online. Netflix launched its streaming service in 2007. As of April 2014, it was being used by 50 million people in 41 countries. Hulu, the OTTv service from NBC Universal, Disney, and Fox, now has six million paying U.S. subscribers. More pay TV operators are offering multiscreen packages to their subscribers and online-only packages to nonsubscribers in a bid to compete head-on with Netflix and similar services. In the Middle East, OTTv is still nascent by global standards. Fewer than 100,000 homes subscribe to dedicated commercial OTTv services—less than 1 percent of television-viewing households.2 Yet despite the low penetration, interest is strong—as suggested by the popularity of online short video services such as YouTube—and a flurry of new services has emerged (see figure 1). Etisalat introduced its eLife TV app on iOS in 2013, just one year after MBC’s Shahid TV app became the top downloaded app in the Middle East App Store. Istikana and icflix, which follow a Netflix model, launched the region’s first major standalone OTTv services in 2011 and 2013 respectively. OSN recently followed by announcing the launch of Go by OSN for non-pay TV subscribers. In 2014, beIN SPORTS relaunched its OTT service and began selling multiscreen subscriptions, and MBC partnered with Samsung to launch Shahid on smart TVs. 1 Select broadcasters only Notes: OTT is over-the-top, IPTV is Internet protocol television, and DTH is direct-to-home. Most IPTV providers with OTT services chiefly offer video on demand through set-top boxes. Sources: Company information; A.T. Kearney analysis Figure 1 Middle East television market landscape IPTV providers Content creation Aggregation Distribution Delivery Studios IPTV providers Du Etisalat Ooredoo Pure OTT players Mobily STC Selevision DTH pay TV providers Satellite operators Arabsat Nilesat Es’hailSat Eutelsat OSN Go by OSN OSN Play beIN SPORTS beIN SPORTS Connect My-HD icflix istikana Broad- casters1 MBC Shahid Rotana Abu Dhabi Media AlMajd Network Channels InfrastructureTV platforms OTT platforms MBC Rotana Nile TV Dubai Television ART Al Jazeera 1 In this paper, OTTv is defined as live streaming or on-demand video content offered on the open Internet, whether free or in exchange for payment. Internet protocol television (IPTV) is not included, as it is provided over a dedicated, managed network. 2 The Middle East is defined in this paper as the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
  • 3. 2Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market With so many players positioning themselves to capture a share of the emerging OTTv market, several important questions arise: How much potential does the market actually offer? What can be done to maximize that potential? And who is best positioned to profit? Spurring Growth of the Middle East OTTv Market To better understand the potential for OTTv services in the Middle East and draw out the implications for market players, we surveyed 45 senior decision makers in the region representing the full television ecosystem: satellite pay TV operators, telecom operators, pure OTTv service providers, broadcasters, content producers, advertising agencies, and technology companies. Together, the companies they represent cover nearly 100 percent of the Middle East’s pay TV market and more than 75 percent of TV viewership. To incorporate consumer insights into our analysis, we surveyed nearly 6,400 consumers across all age and income groups in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Algeria. Not surprisingly, the most crucial growth drivers that audiovisual executives cite are content, network speed, and devices. Other important factors include antipiracy measures, pricing, advertising revenue, and regulatory frameworks (see figure 2). How important are the following factors to enable growth of paid OTTv? (as rated by Middle East television industry executives) Note: OTTv is over-the-top video. Source: A.T. Kearney 2014 Middle East TV Executive Survey Figure 2 Key factors for OTTv growth Capture of advertising revenue (Super-)fast networks Affordable and flexible pricing Collaboration on piracy Device availability and user interface More regulatory collaboration Moderate importance Critical importance Great content Key factors for paid OTTv growth Increasing importance
  • 4. 3Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market Great content The old adage “content is king” remains truer than ever for OTTv services. Today, many OTTv platforms focus on films and fail to address consumers’ desires for a broader array of content. Considering the Middle East’s multicultural nature, the content lineup needs to be much more varied than Hollywood blockbusters; it must also include Arabic or Bollywood content. For the more conservative part of the population, particular attention needs to be paid to offering a “safe” viewing environment. Executives see the largest potential for services in series, films, and sports, followed by children’s programs and documentaries (see figure 3). Crucially, with close to a thousand satellite channels available for free, OTTv platforms need to secure access to marquee premium rights—rights that today are largely in the hands of the two leading pay TV platforms, beIN SPORTS and OSN. How much will consumption of the following genres on OTT take off in the next five years? (as rated by Middle East television industry executives; 5=high, 1=low) Note: OTTv is over-the-top video. Source: A.T. Kearney 2014 Middle East TV Executive Survey Figure 3 OTTv adoption by genre 4.3 Entertainment series 4.3 Films 4.2 Sports 3.8 Children’s programs 2.7 Documentaries The diversity of the Middle East provides both challenges and opportunities. Our consumer survey indicates considerable variation between consumer segments in their movies and series preferences (see figure 4 on page 4). A one-size-fits-all approach will therefore limit reach. This also suggests the potential for niche plays that could be based on relatively low-cost content, for example in comedy movies targeted at South Asians or action series for East Asian viewers. Language is another factor to consider. Eighty-one percent of Arab respondents prefer to watch series in their native Arabic, while their preferred language for movies is English. Super-fast networks According to Netflix, a download connection speed of five megabits per second is ideal for high-definition viewing, though speeds of just three megabits per second are acceptable for standard definition. In the Middle East, the availability and affordability of super-fast networks varies significantly among countries. In GCC countries, fiber optic and xDSL connections are nearly universally available. In fact, the United Arab Emirates has the highest penetration of fiber-to-the-home anywhere in the world, standing at 72 percent in September 2014.
  • 5. 4Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market In the rest of the Middle East, however, fixed broadband connections will remain confined to higher-income households, with penetration rates not expected to exceed 10 to 15 percent of households by 2019. Increased deployment of high-speed mobile networks provides a viable alternative from a performance perspective. The challenge, however, will be to find an economic model that compensates the costs of carrying massive amounts of data traffic on wireless networks. As a result, OTTv services will prove more successful initially in the more advanced GCC markets than elsewhere in the region. The growthdriversexecutivescitemost are content, network speed, and devices. Device availability and user interface The Middle East is quickly becoming one of the leading regions in the world in terms of smart device adoption. Among the consumers in our survey, smartphone penetration stands at 90 percent for higher-income consumers and 66 percent for lower-income segments. Tablet penetration is 60 and 27 percent respectively. Content genre preference (based on viewing hours) Language preference (Arab respondents) 1 Including Egypt Note: Percentages may not resolve due to rounding. Sources: Audience survey; A.T. Kearney analysis Movies Series Arab (Middle East)1 13% 16% 35% 9% 27% 14% 18% 29% 9% 30% 10% 9% 44% 9% 28% 9% 9% 38% 14% 30% 15% 11% 35% 7% 32% Arab (North Africa) South Asian East Asian Western Arab (Middle East)1 43% 16% 22% 6% 13% 43% 19% 15% 8% 15% 49% 15% 22% 10% 45% 16% 15% 22% 34% 29% 21% 15% Arab (North Africa) South Asian East Asian Western Figure 4 Content genre and language preference by segment Drama Thriller or crime Comedy Animated Action 1% 2% 4% 45% Arabic47% English 8% Other 81% Arabic 14% English 4% Other
  • 6. 5Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market For tablets, which executives believe will be the most commonly used device for OTTv consumption, the number of users in the Middle East is expected to grow by 77 percent per year between 2013 and 2017 (see figure 5). Smartphone penetration—perhaps the easiest way to reach lower-income consumers—in the GCC countries is already among the highest in the world. Smart TV penetration will also spike upward, with smart TVs accounting for 80 percent of all new Middle East TV sales by 2017. What will be the main devices where OTTv services will be consumed? (as rated by Middle East television industry executives; 5=high usage, 1=low usage) Note: OTTv is over-the-top video. Source: A.T. Kearney 2014 Middle East TV Executive Survey Figure 5 OTTv consumption by device 4.3 Tablets 3.8 Smartphones 3.7 Smart TVs 3.3 OTT boxes or dongles Experts heatedly debate whether consumers will prefer using OTTv services on small screens, such as smartphones, or large screens, such as a television connected to a set-top box. In our view, to become mainstream, OTTv services will need to be available with an acceptable quality, user interface, and price on small and large screens alike because, among other reasons, distribution on multiple platforms can improve affordability by eliminating the need for consumers to buy additional hardware or devices. In this regard, OTTv services should be made available not only on the provider’s own website and app, but also on other connected platforms—including smart TVs, game consoles, digital media players such as Apple TV, and smart dongles such as Chromecast. The key will be to provide a quality front-end platform for advanced content and metadata management from various providers—a platform that offers a consistent end-user experience, regardless of content or device. A high-quality, simple user interface that provides unique features that traditional broadcasting cannot compete with will be essential. Content indexing, user-generated content ratings, and content discovery features are also important. For example, Netflix uses keyword-based content discovery to meet highly specific customer interests. This not only promotes usage but also increases the personal connection with customers, which in turns paves the way for targeted advertising.
  • 7. 6Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market Interestingly, even lower-income consumers consider multiscreen availability and advanced features to be important. In our consumer survey, lower-income customers had an even higher demand for content on demand and interactive viewing features than higher-income ones. To realize full market potential, OTTv operators will need to partner with social networking, gaming, and e-commerce providers to enhance the multiscreen experience, while also working with content delivery networks to ensure quality of service. Collaboration on piracy and regulation Online piracy remains a common menace to broadcasters, pay TV operators, and OTTv service providers. Our data suggests that although 27 million households across the Middle East and Northern Africa have access to pay TV services, fewer than seven million are actually paying for those services. Moreover, among the nonsubscribers we surveyed, 52 percent cite the availability of free—possibly pirated—content as a reason not to pay. Industry players will need to band together to work with specialized antipiracy agencies to identify threats, Internet service providers to take down pirate sites, and national regulators to provide the overall legal framework and strong deterrents. The recently formed Broadcast Satellite Anti-Piracy Coalition had 18 members as of 2014, including IPTV providers (Etisalat and du), broadcasters (MBC Group, Rotana, and ART) satellite service providers (Arabsat, Eutelsat, Gulfsat, Nilesat, Noorsat, and Viewsat), direct-to-home provider OSN, and international rights owners (Motion Picture Association of America and WWE)—demonstrating that collaboration in this area is real. Advertiser interest in OTTv will likely require cross-platform cooperation. Affordable and flexible pricing The Middle East region is a very diverse market, with significant differences in purchasing power across countries. Fortunately, micro-segmentation and targeted pricing models are easier to implement in OTTv services than in other competing audiovisual offerings. One aspect, of course, is to differentiate pricing between affluent and less affluent countries. Another is to target customer segments with tailored services and flexible pricing, moving away from a standard subscription model. For example, U.S. sports fans can buy season, team, week, day, event, or even pay-by-the-hour packs, thereby increasing the reach and proportion of viewers who will pay for content. Additionally, joining forces with payment service providers will help address the low credit card and bank account penetration in most of the region. Capturing advertising revenue Another crucial aspect to keep pricing affordable for the mass market is to offset subscription fees with advertising. Measuring a television audience is an inexact science in the Middle East, leading to major market inefficiencies. Also, the inability to target specific countries with traditional television advertising is a barrier to smaller advertisers and to those that want to reach a specific audience. By providing opportunities for demographic, geographic, and even behavioral targeting, OTTv offers the promise of a higher return on advertising spending.
  • 8. 7Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market Nonetheless, cross-platform cooperation will likely be required to secure advertiser interest in this new format, given OTTv’s relatively lower reach over the next few years. Growth Perspectives and Scenarios for OTTv Services Today, the Middle East television market is worth $2.4 billion, of which OTTv constitutes less than 1 percent (see figure 6).3 Free-to-air (FTA) distribution captures the lion’s share with 63 percent, followed by pay TV with 29 percent. Based on the variables described in the previous section, we have developed three scenarios to model the growth potential for OTTv services (see figure 7 on page 8). In the most conservative one, OTTv remains a niche value proposition with limited impact on the overall market. In the most optimistic one, OTTv services become mainstream and capture significant audience share from FTA and pay TV. 3 OTTv revenues refer to standalone OTTv subscriptions or pay-per-view services, such as live streaming or video on demand. OTTv access bundled with other services is categorized elsewhere. Notes: IPTV is Internet protocol television. OTTv is over-the-top video. Source: A.T. Kearney analysis Figure 6 Middle East television market profile Revenue by segment and type $ million, 2014e 80% 70% 60% 50% 30% 90% 20% 10% 0% 100% 40% 1,519 OTTv 21 (<1%) Pay TV IPTV 167 (7%) 167 Pay TV direct-to-home 711 (29%) 150 561 Free-to-air 1,519 (63%) 9 12 OTTv = 2% of total consumer-paid revenues OTTv = <1% of total advertising revenues Consumer paid Advertising These scenarios echo the sentiment of executives, who were asked how quickly they expect the OTTv services market to grow in the Middle East: • Twenty-five percent believe growth will be between 10 and 25 percent per year, in line with scenario 1. • Forty percent expect growth to be between 25 and 50 percent per year, consistent with scenario 2. • Thirty-five percent say growth will exceed 50 percent annually, as in scenario 3. • None believe growth will be less than 10 percent per year.
  • 9. 8Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market Scenario 1: Niche OTTv market OTTv services remain a niche proposition and are largely positioned as a “free” add-on for pay TV subscribers. Pure OTTv providers fail to gain significant market traction because of their inability to acquire premium content rights. Piracy remains a major problem and inhibits consumers’ willingness to pay for additional video services. Linear television remains the main medium for video consumption. The total value of the OTTv market reaches $62 million in 2020, coming in at 2 percent of the total television market. Thus, OTTv market share in the Middle East in 2020 is about half of its 2014 market share in the United States. Scenario 2: Moderate OTTv growth OTTv sees moderate adoption. OTTv providers with high-demand content similar to Netflix emerge, but challenges in distribution and in securing full access to premium content inhibit their ability to gain significant market share. Pay TV operators successfully market standalone OTTv services to expand their customer franchise beyond their core subscriber base. But in the absence of strong competition from OTTv service providers, they adopt a prudent commercial strategy to avoid cannibalizing their current business. The total value of the OTTv market reaches $329 million in 2020, equivalent to 9 percent of the total television market. Note: OTTv is over-the-top video. Source: A.T. Kearney analysis Figure 7 OTTv growth scenarios through 2020 Middle East OTTv market size $ million Consumer paid Advertising 2014 21 Niche market 62 47 Moderate growth 342 227 115 Mass-market development 1,059 2020 Scenario 3: OTTv mass-market development 644 415 14912 2020 Scenario 2: Moderate OTTv growth 2020 Scenario 1: Niche OTTv market 75 4,368 25 50 3,648 9 17.5 3,584 2 OTTv CAGR 2014–2020 (%) Total TV market size ($ million) OTTv share (% of total) 2014 2,418 <1
  • 10. 9Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market Scenario 3: OTTv mass-market development OTTv becomes a mass-market service. Service providers gain substantial access to premium content. In reaction, pay TV operators aggressively commercialize standalone OTTv services alongside their multiscreen packages. Broadcasters compete aggressively with a full range of live, catch-up, and video-on-demand services. Piracy is successfully tackled. The total value of the OTTv market reaches $1 billion in 2020, or 25 percent of the television market—equivalent to its market share in the United States in that same year. In other words, the Middle East OTTv market will be almost as mature and developed as the U.S. market. And the Winner Is … Asked which type of player is best positioned to win in the Middle East OTTv market, nearly 40 percent of the executives we surveyed cite standalone providers. But pay TV and telecom operators were also seen as serious competitors (see figure 8). Who is best positioned to win in the OTTv services market? (according to Middle East television industry executives; % of respondents) Note: OTTv is over-the-top video. Source: A.T. Kearney 2014 Middle East TV Executive Survey Figure 8 Predicted winners in OTTv 5% Dedicated OTTv service providers Satellite pay TV operators Telecom operators Content producers Free-to-air broadcasters 40% 10% 15% 30% In our opinion, the Middle East is unique, and lessons from other international markets might not apply entirely. The game is still open, and each type of player has unique assets to capitalize on and different strategies to consider (see figure 9 on page 10). Direct-to-home satellite pay TV operators Pay TV operators leave the gate with a strong position, thanks to their existing subscriber relationships and customer knowledge, multiplatform distribution capabilities, and access to
  • 11. 10Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market premium content. This provides the basis to cross-sell OTTv services to their customers and to heavily promote standalone, low-cost services to most of the population that today does not pay for content and is reluctant to commit to a long-term subscription. Sky Go in the United Kingdom has reached nearly three million active users, compared to its 10 million satellite TV subscribers. This service is combined with a portfolio of other digital properties, including news and information sites, fantasy sports, betting, and social media, to create a full digital ecosystem that supports its OTT offering. Sky also purchased a stake in Zeebox, a pioneering second- screen interactive application, to bolster its television and OTTv service. The most difficult part for pay TV operators is to adopt a segmented strategy to maximize reach, but without encouraging customers to cannibalize the core business by cherry-picking content at a lower cost. Traditional pay TV will remain their main revenue driver for the foreseeable future, so pay TV operators need to focus on developing a portfolio of products that combines multiscreen subscription packages targeted at heavy-usage customers and OTTv-only packages for light-usage and lower-end customers. And crucially, pay TV operators need to ensure competing OTTv services do not become a Trojan horse that causes them to lose exclusive rights over premium content. Telecom operators Telecom operators are eager to find new revenue streams, and cross-selling television and video services to their extensive customer base is a sterling opportunity. Telecom operators control the transmission networks, which gives them an edge in managing service quality and economics. Notes: OTTv is over-the-top video. DTH is direct-to-home. Source: A.T. Kearney analysis Figure 9 Position by type of company Type of operator Broadcasters Pure OTTv players Examples OSN, beIN SPORTS, MyHD, Abu Dhabi Media, Etisalat, Ooredoo, du, STC, Mobily MBC, Rotana, ART, al Jazeera icflix, istikana, YouTube, Cinemoz Key strengths • Customer relationships and knowledge • Physical distribution network • Ability to bundle (for IPTV providers) • Extensive content rights, including archives • Strong and trusted brands • Advertising relationships • No legacy cost base • No core business to cannibalize • Speed of movement Key challenges • Avoid cannibalizing core pay TV business with standalone OTT services • Acquire online content rights from studios • Overcome lack of advertising scale (in most cases) • Avoid damaging core TV advertising business • Build consumer relationships • Obtain scale and content for a strong platform (in the case of smaller players) • Fund investment in content • Build brand equity • Establish customer and advertiser relationships International success stories • Sky, Verizon • Hulu, BBC iPlayer • Netflix, Amazon Pay TV providers (DTH satellite, telcom operators)
  • 12. 11Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market Indeed, most large telecom operators in the Middle East have already launched IPTV services and distribute pay TV channels from OSN and beIN SPORTS, among others. Some are already commercializing video-on-demand services over fixed broadband networks. Their IPTV boxes are already installed in many households, which gives them a natural gateway to control access to the large screen. In the United States, Verizon has gone one step further by providing OTT broadcasting over its mobile network. In 2014, Verizon offered its subscribers the Super Bowl over its own multicast LTE platform. One challenge Middle East telecom operators face is lack of regional scale, as most are strong in only one country. Investments in IPTV platforms and content are substantial and would be more economically viable if made for a broader geographical reach. As a result, telecom operators need to evaluate two very different alternatives: launching their own pan-regional OTTv platform or scaling down their IPTV investments by setting up partnerships. Standalone OTTv service providers The emergence of OTTv provides a window of opportunity for new players to enter the Middle East television market. These include both regional players such as icflix and global contenders such as Netflix, Amazon, and Apple. Standalone providers have the advantage of being able to move quickly, without the constraints and cannibalization risks associated with a legacy television business. However, new entrants will need to invest heavily in content, branding, and customer and advertiser relationships to compete with the established pay TV operators and broadcasters. In addition, gaining access to premium content is likely to prove challenging, particularly for regional providers. For global players, on the other hand, their relationships and scale could be instrumental in encouraging rights owners to open up access to premium content. There are also opportunities to innovate in content. First, a wealth of Arabic archive content is not yet available or monetized and could be acquired at a relatively low cost. Second, moving upstream to invest selectively in original programming or signing primary film deals, as Netflix did with the hit series House of Cards and its four-film deal with Adam Sandler, is costly and has risks but can create a major impact and help operators break into the market if well executed. Finally, investing in non-Arabic content to serve the many ethnic communities in the region can provide a differentiating position. Broadcasters Broadcasters such as MBC and Rotana can take advantage of their strong audiences and content rights ownership, and OTTv offers them the opportunity to increase viewership of their content. This is a growing trend globally. In the United States, 2014 saw the launch of HBO Go and CBS All Access, providing these broadcasters with direct access to consumers, bypassing their traditional pay TV operator partners. If they choose this route, the ability to monetize online audiences will be essential to avoid cannibalizing existing television advertising revenues. With the possible exception of MBC, however, broadcasters may face a scale problem, as an OTTv platform offering a limited number of channels and narrow content will struggle to compete. In this case, broadcasters would face two options: either partnering with a pay TV provider or OTT player to get their video service hosted on their platforms or joining forces with other broadcasters
  • 13. 12Over-the-Top Video (OTTv) in the Middle East: How to Win the Market to co-own a service distributed through their own and third-party platforms. Given the highly fragmented Middle East FTA market, the second option can work in this region. The success of Hulu in the United States and the attempt by the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 to launch a similar service in the United Kingdom (though ultimately blocked by the regulator) vouch for the practicality of cooperative competition—or “co-opetition.” The broadcasters’ strategy should consider linear live television and subscription-based video- on-demand services. However, the bias of FTA viewing toward entertainment series indicates potentially strong demand for a catch-up service. This is also supported by the huge success of the BBC iPlayer, which is used by four out of 10 online adults in the United Kingdom. The iPlayer is based on a seven-day catch-up service, which soon will be extended to 30 days. Large broadcasters should also look for opportunities to monetize their extensive content, including deep archive material. MBC has been broadcasting since 1991 and ART since 1954. There is a wealth of historical Arabic content that could be digitized and made available on demand. Finding the optimal commercial model is key. Consumers’ willingness to pay for content is low, especially for content that is on FTA channels. Therefore, stimulating the growth of online advertising will be vital—for example, by striking cross-platform advertising deals. Prepare Today to Grow Tomorrow OTTv has clear growth potential in the Middle East, but a number of conditions are required for it to fully develop. Consumers have an appetite for these services, so supply will be the main driving factor. Great content, multi-platform distribution, and an intuitive user interface are part of the recipe to secure consumer adoption. Industrywide collaboration to combat piracy, with regulatory support, and developing a targeted advertising platform are essential to establish a sound base for growth. OTTv will likely take time to gain a foothold in the Middle East. Forward-thinking contenders will need to establish their positions now while also taking a long-term investment view. Although OTTv will revolutionize the way people view television in the long term, traditional pay TV and linear FTA will remain mainstream for the foreseeable future. Understanding and managing the consumption, content, and competitive dynamics of the market is the key challenge facing all players looking to win in the OTTv market. Authors Laurent Viviez, partner, Dubai laurent.viviez@atkearney.com Christophe Firth, consultant, Dubai christophe.firth@atkearney.com Marc Biosca, partner, Dubai marc.biosca@atkearney.com The authors would like to thank Omar Abou Faraj for his valuable contributions to this paper.
  • 14. A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world's foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues. For more information, visit www.atkearney.com. Americas Asia Pacific Europe Middle East and Africa Atlanta Bogotá Calgary Chicago Dallas Detroit Houston Mexico City New York Palo Alto San Francisco São Paulo Toronto Washington, D.C. Bangkok Beijing Hong Kong Jakarta Kuala Lumpur Melbourne Mumbai New Delhi Seoul Shanghai Singapore Sydney Tokyo Abu Dhabi Doha Dubai Johannesburg Manama Riyadh For more information, permission to reprint or translate this work, and all other correspondence, please email: insight@atkearney.com. The signature of our namesake and founder, Andrew Thomas Kearney, on the cover of this document represents our pledge to live the values he instilled in our firm and uphold his commitment to ensuring “essential rightness” in all that we do. A.T. Kearney Korea LLC is a separate and independent legal entity operating under the A.T. Kearney name in Korea. A.T. Kearney operates in India as A.T. Kearney Limited (Branch Office), a branch office of A.T. Kearney Limited, a company organized under the laws of England and Wales. © 2014, A.T. Kearney, Inc. All rights reserved. Amsterdam Berlin Brussels Bucharest Budapest Copenhagen Düsseldorf Frankfurt Helsinki Istanbul Kiev Lisbon Ljubljana London Madrid Milan Moscow Munich Oslo Paris Prague Rome Stockholm Stuttgart Vienna Warsaw Zurich