Currently the number of IPTV homes in the Middle East and North Africa is on the rise, and in terms of Pay TV markets as a whole, the region total is predicted to increase to 11 million Pay TV homes by 2014, giving a staggering 15% penetration rate*.
Telecoms operators in the Middle East and North Africa have begun to realise the huge potential and many have concluded that the best strategy for the future is to combine the security of managed IPTV, with the flexibility and adaptability of OTT delivery. For example, Dubais incumbent operator and the official event partner, Etisalat already offers an IPTV offering (for high-end fibre customers) and an OTT offering (for lower ARPU users). Etisalat is hosting its Digital Entertainment Network Zone at the conference and exhibition, where the company will be showcasing its TV activities in the region, as well as leading a pre-event OTT focus session on 29 October.
Speaking about the growth opportunity in the UAE, Nick Thomas, Principle Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, says: The country is relatively small geographically, with a new infrastructure. The population is young (the majority under 35), tech-savvy and has high levels of disposable income. If premium IP-based paid-content services are to work anywhere, it is here.
Furthermore, an advantage that potential IPTV operators in the Middle East and North Africa have over their Western counterparts is the opportunity to build the most-up-to-date and effective networks.
As the TV industry converges and brings closer IPTV and OTTtv providers, CE Manufactures and Linear TV distributers, TV Connect Middle East and North Africa will place a spotlight on all the issues in the managed IPTV ecosystem and the OTTtv space. It will also focus on the importance of content packages, localising content across countries, licensing issues and how the industry can work together to bring a connected and interactive TV experience for the future.
Hisham Arafat, General Manager at INC Emirates Technology, comments on the importance of the event: TV Connect MENA is an excellent opportunity to introduce the newest technologies in IPTV and OTT to regional telecomm operators. Its a very good networking event with specialised professionals in the region exploring new ways for increasing IPTV/OTT revenues for the operators.