IPTV to overtake cable in MENA by 2016

The number of homes in the Middle East and North Africa paying for IPTV services is expected to overtake that of cable TV in 2016, with Turkey and Egypt leading the way, according to new figures from UK firm Digital TV Research.

The study – which covers the 16 most advanced countries in MENA, representing 67mn households – adds that the United Arab Emirates will have the region’s highest IPTV penetration by 2016 with 46%, followed by Qatar with 37% and Cyprus with 32%.

Over a slightly longer period, IPTV revenues are expected to more than quadruple between 2012 and 2018, reaching US$ 644mn.

While fewer than 15% of TV households (digital and analogue) in the region currently pay for their TV signals, this proportion is expected to rise to 21% by 2018 as operators, content providers and governments crack down on piracy.

Thanks to this crackdown, legitimate pay TV revenues are expected to grow by more than 42% between 2012 and 2018 and reach US$ 4.76bn, with Turkey to account for more than half of the total.

DTH will continue to dominate pay TV revenues, taking 71% of the 2018 total. Penetration of analogue terrestrial TV will fall from 27% in 2012 to 9% in 2018, as digital switchover projects gather pace.

Free-to-air DTT is expected to be the main beneficiary of these digital switchover initiatives, increasing from 1.75mn homes (2.6% TV household penetration) at end-2012 to 11.7mn (15.8%) by 2018.

Digital TV penetration for the 16 countries covered in the report will almost reach three-quarters of TV households by the end of this year, and go on to exceed 90% of TV households by 2018.