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Popularity grows for on-demand and multi-screen entertainment experiences; responses highlight gaps in device compatibility and content access

CABSAT 2014 – DUBAI – 10 March 2014 – Consumer demand is increasing for over-the-top (OTT) offerings and Internet TV services like icflix and Netflix in the GCC countries according to new research from Irdeto, a world leader in Multiscreen, Revenue Assurance and Media Protection solutions. The research revealed that 23% of GCC consumers surveyed would prefer to watch TV, movies or sports content through Internet TV services as these services would allow them to watch content on a wider variety of devices (40% in total would prefer to use Internet TV services in the future). As operators and broadcasters in the Middle East continue to evolve quickly to meet consumer demand for modern experiences, the new research underscores significant growth potential for multi-screen and OTT services in the region.

Released today ahead of CABSAT 2014, the research was commissioned by Irdeto and conducted by YouGov among a representative sample of 2,700 adults in the GCC countries (KSA, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman). It tackled important questions on current viewing habits, device preferences, future demands and interest in services like Internet TV in the region, as well as examining the barriers to viewing more content.

  • The more devices, the better: Multi-screen services are clearly in high demand in the GCC countries. The research revealed that 29% of respondents don’t have a preference for satellite TV or Internet TV in the future, they just want a service that gives them access to their content on any device. This is despite almost three quarters (74%) of consumers saying that they currently watch most content live on a television – this high proportion shows a demand for live content accessibility, highlighting huge opportunities for OTT adoption in the region.
  • Make it easy and offer live sports: 29% of respondents said that live sports streaming was the most important feature of a multi-screen service, with markets like Qatar showing the highest demand for live sports streaming (37%). Irdeto’s research also revealed that almost one in five respondents (19%) state a desire for a single account which allows them to access to TV, movies and sport content across multiple devices.
  • STBs still dominate, but there is room for new devices: When it comes to the devices on which consumers prefer to watch TV, sports and movies, the research revealed that satellite set-top boxes remain the most popular in the region, for now. Although 45% prefer STBs (rising to 52% in Oman), 25% want to use smart TVs (although this increases to 30% in the UAE) and 11% have stated a desire to view premium content on tablets. There is also a clear gender split when it comes to devices, with satellite set-top boxes much more popular among men (49%) than women (37%), but tablets much more popular among women (17%) than men (8%).The research also shows that dongles which plug into TVs are yet to take off in the region with only 2% wanting to watch content through these devices. This highlights a potential opportunity for operators to deploy this technology to stay ahead of the competition and to rival other companies such as Google – especially as it can be an easy transition from the traditional set-top box.
  • Barriers to content consumption: There are a number of barriers in the GCC countries that are stopping consumers from watching more TV, movie and sport content through their chosen content providers. The main barrier is poor connectivity with 31% saying this is stopping them from watching more content. This is followed by cost (17%) and the lack of availability of the desired content (13%). A lack of availability of content through legitimate channels is an issue, as it increases the risk that pirate sources will be used to acquire the desired content.

“The GCC research we have conducted ahead of CABSAT really underlines the growth of linear pay TV and the huge untapped market potential in the region for OTT services,” said John Illingworth, Sales Director, Middle East, Irdeto. “Broadcasters and operators should continue to focus on compelling multi-screen services and potentially at consolidation of different platforms at competitive prices – early entrants into the OTT market clearly have a receptive audience and it is essential for operators to capitalize on this.”

The full survey results can be found on the Irdeto website.

As the world leader in Multiscreen, Media Protection and Revenue Assurance solutions, Irdeto is committed to delivering best in breed solutions to its customers. In line with this mission, the company is committing resources to the MENA region to help broadcasters and pay TV operators meet demand for OTT services. At CABSAT 2014, Irdeto will be hosting a roundtable in partnership with Media Group International (MGI) discussing the OTT state of play in the MENA region. This will also be followed by news on Irdeto’s momentum in the MENA region, including new customers, hires and partnerships.

Research methodology

The research was commissioned by Irdeto and conducted by YouGov among a representative sample of 2,700 adults, in the GCC countries (KSA, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman) in February 2014. The sample breakdown was as follows:

  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: 1,006
  • United Arab Emirates: 1,003
  • Kuwait: 240
  • Qatar: 151
  • Bahrain: 150
  • Oman: 150

About Irdeto

Irdeto. Building a Secure Future.™

Irdeto is the world leader in digital platform security, protecting platforms and applications for media & entertainment, gaming, connected transport and IoT connected industries. Our solutions and services enable customers to protect their revenue, create new offerings and fight cybercrime. With nearly 50 years of expertise in security, Irdeto’s software security technology and cyber services protect over 5 billion devices and applications for some of the world’s best-known brands. Our unique heritage as a subsidiary of multinational media group Naspers (JSE: NPN) means that we are a well-established and reliable partner to help build a more secure future. Please visit Irdeto at

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Irdeto Media Team