Can television survive amidst the rise of digital challengers in the Middle East?

Press releases

Can television survive amidst the rise of digital challengers in the Middle East?

Press release

- Deloitte report finds that the outlook for television remains positive in the Middle East

21 January, 2015Deloitte’s new report, “Television’s business model - Fit for a digital world: Middle East perspective”, assesses television’s current performance and outlook given the growing number of digital challengers. The report is based on Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey- an online survey taking place in 22 countries including the UAE and Saudi Arabia- as well as primary market surveys and interviews with a range of Middle East industry players.

The findings of the report were presented during the IBC conference held on January 20th in Dubai, as part of a 3-day event. The VIP event, where the Deloitte report was released, was held during the first day in collaboration with IBC as an invitation-only event for leaders of the media and communications industry in the MENA region.

“Our report seeks to explore and answer the key question of how television is faring in the current global and regional environment in the face of digital disruptions, which have taken hold abroad and at home in the region,” explains Santino Saguto, Partner and Technology, Media and Telecommunications leader at Deloitte Middle East. “Four of the foremost “digital challengers” were studied and Deloitte’s assessment of each suggests that traditional television’s outlook remains positive”.

The four most major digital challengers assessed in this report include:

Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD)

The region has seen a rise in subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) providers. The Deloitte report finds that although SVOD is gaining traction in the region and growing at a much faster pace than global markets, the Middle East, at less than one per cent, still represents a very small share of worldwide SVOD revenues.

However, SVOD in the Middle East is still at a nascent stage, with much fewer players active locally than in more established markets such as Europe. With much higher uptake and penetration in online streaming, there is plenty of consumer demand and room for the local SVOD market to grow, creating opportunities for local players to capitalize on. The recent foray of standalone regional SVOD providers into original content, a strategy that helped revive Netflix’s fortunes, could represent a defining trend separating potential winners from losers in a market with a disproportionate amount of free content. 


The rise of the Internet and the abundance of sports related information available from the Web challenge television’s primacy as the principal source of premium sports content. Findings suggest that television always has and will continue to remain the home of premium sports.

In the Middle East, Deloitte estimates that in 2015 and beyond, the value of premium region-specific sports rights will continue to increase by at least 15-20 per cent per annum. With global sports rights estimated to be growing at a slightly slower pace in 2015 than the 14 per cent growth predicted for 2014, regional sports rights from next year are set to outpace global growth by an even wider margin.

Video clips

Short-form has boldly risen in the region, with viewing statistics in the ‘millions’ and even the ‘billions’. Despite this, findings suggest that although short-form video clips are gaining popularity globally and locally, traditional long-form television maintains its dominance in Middle East viewership levels, hours watched and advertising revenues.


Although technology companies seem to dominate when it comes to innovation, the TV industry has proven adept at exploiting a range of technological advances, such as video compression. Similarly in the Middle East, television has maintained its position as the dominant media platform, despite digital disruptions including the rise of online streaming, social media, mobile gaming as well as smartphone and smart TV penetration.

“Television has fared positively in an increasingly digital Middle East, but should be conscious of the ever-changing digital environment and the power it can provide in advancing regional television,” concludes Saguto.

To view the whole report, go to:

Press contact
Nadine El Hassan
Middle East Public Relations
Deloitte & Touche (M.E.)
Tel: +961 (0) 1 748444
Fax: +961 (0) 1 748999

About Deloitte:

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.

Deloitte's professionals are unified by a collaborative culture that fosters integrity, outstanding value to markets and clients, commitment to each other, and strength from cultural diversity. They enjoy an environment of continuous learning, challenging experiences, and enriching career opportunities. Deloitte's professionals are dedicated to strengthening corporate responsibility, building public trust, and making a positive impact in their communities.

About Deloitte & Touche (M.E.):

Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) is a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and is the first Arab professional services firm established in the Middle East region with uninterrupted presence since 1926.

Deloitte is among the region’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through 26 offices in 15 countries with around 3,000 partners, directors and staff. It is a Tier 1 Tax advisor in the GCC region since 2010 (according to the International Tax Review World Tax Rankings). It has received numerous awards in the last few years which include Best Employer in the Middle East, best consulting firm, and the Middle East Training & Development Excellence Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

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