Netflix Dominating Middle East, African Markets

Netflix’s market share remains unmatched in the United States. Since its global launch in 2016, the SVOD pioneer has been replicating that dominance worldwide – including in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region covering 20 countries.

New data from Digital TV Research found that Netflix had 1.8 million (36%) subscribers in the MENA region at the end of 2017 – 10 times more than Amazon Prime Video and three times more than Lionsgate-owned Starz Play.

That tally is expected to increase to 7.4 million (37%) subs by 2023. The MENA region will have 20.8 million SVOD subs by 2023, up from the 5.2 million subs in 2017.

Netflix will have 3.6 million subs in Arabic-speaking countries by 2023. This is higher than its nearest rival Starz Play with 2.8 million.

Turkey remains the leading SVOD country (spearheaded by Netflix) with 6.7 million subs projected by 2023 – or a third of the region’s total.

“Netflix is dominant across the MENA region … partly because it operates in more territories than its Arabic competitors,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “However, its success is down to more than geographic reach. The global appeal of its original content has spread throughout the region.”

Indeed, Netflix is spending upwards of $8 billion on original content in 2018 – much of it overseas.

Top SVOD services include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Icflix, Starz Play, Iflix, Wavo, beIN Connect and Shahid Plus, which collectively will account for 75% of MENA’s SVOD subs by end-2023, up from 56% in 2017.

Extracting Israel and Turkey, these eight platforms will retain 91% of SVOD subs.

SVOD revenue is projected to grow 600% through 2023 to $2.03 billion. Market leader Turkey will add $451 million in revenue to more than double its total to $603 million by 2023. Saudi Arabia will increase its SVOD revenue seven times to reach $351 million in 2023.

“Although overall subscriber numbers will climb impressively, there are just too many Arabic platforms,” Murray said. “They do not offer enough original or exclusive content to seriously challenge Netflix. We do not believe that the market can sustain this many Arabic platforms in the long run.”

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