NEW DELHI: Connected TV is rapidly evolving in MENA
region (Middle East and North Africa), with providers,
broadcasters and manufacturers such as STC, OSN (Orbit
Showtime Network) and Samsung already offering consumers
increased access to content through smart devices.
This growing saturation of the market provides the
backdrop for this year's TV Connect MENA, which has
developed in recent years to focus on IPTV, OTTtv, multiscreen
and cloud TV services for regional service providers.
The number of connected devices, particularly tablets,
is fuelling demand for OTT, cloud and multiscreen services
in MENA, and is expected to dramatically increase over
the next five years. Informa Telecoms and Media reports
that 6.5 million tablets were sold across the Middle
East and Africa in 2012. That figure is forecast to
increase to a staggering 32.1 million in 2016.
Informa Telecoms & Media research analyst Michael
Dean comments on the growth opportunity: "The OTT-content
and services landscape across MENA has traditionally
been rather barren, but the situation is changing quickly
with OTT start-ups starting to emerge, and the number
of rival operator initiatives increasing.
"Mobile broadband may currently be in the nascent
stages across much of the region but it is increasingly
becoming a greater growth area for rural internet users
in many MENA markets. In addition, the Gulf Cooperation
Council is scheduling to have LTE networks in place
by end-2013, meaning there will be a further rise in
mobile data usage. This will undoubtedly place more
demand on increased content delivery. Saudi Arabia and
the UAE alone already have traditionally high levels
of TV content consumption. For example, according to
OSN, the average household watches six to seven hours
of TV content per day," adds Dean.
Focussing on OTTtv, multiscreen and cloud TV services,
and the opportunities within the IPTV industry, the
annual TV Connect MENA, holds more relevance than ever
for service providers, telecom/cable/satellite operators,
broadcasters, content providers, gaming aggregators
and CE manufacturers.
TV Connect MENA conference director Kamelija Stefanova
comments: "The event will explore OTT and IPTV
convergence; offer presentations about developing content
monetisation strategies; look at the business of CDNs
and data centers for telecom operators; assess the role
of advertising agencies in the connected media space;
show best practise OTT and IPTV projects; and see how
multiscreen services are becoming part of the digital
home. We as organisers are in a unique position to provide
one meeting place for broadband, LTE and TV markets
and offer learning opportunities for maximising the
power of 4G/LTE network to offer TV on the Go, utilising
user interface for improved content discovery and using
apps for on-demand video services."