OTT, Multiscreen and Cloud TV Spark Innovation for MENA's Connected TV Market

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."

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