2017 has been a busy year for content protection and creativity in the MENA region. Over the course of twelve months, the region has become the next big frontier for all types of video services and is particularly suited to OTT. With 75 million viewers, the market looks like a great opportunity for OTT service providers. Yet it hasn’t been an easy one to crack for legal OTT services – today, only 2.3 million consumers pay for an OTT subscription throughout the region.
Despite an attractive landscape of creative players such as beIN Sports Connect, icflix, MBC Shahid, OSN GO and STARZ Play, and international giants such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix trying to get a slice of the pie, OTT service providers face very basic challenges on the ground: the lack of uniformity in broadband availability across the region, and viewers accustomed to free-to-air channels and pirated content. The mass adoption of video-enabled social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is also blurring the lines between legal offerings and illicit redistribution methods.