High Definition television (HDTV) is establishing itself as the ‘new normal’ for viewers across the Middle East and north Africa, according to YahLive, the High Definition (HD) television satellite platform for the MENA region.
We believe the future direction of the regional television market will be driven by the willingness of consumers to pay a modest price for content and quality
Speaking at the ASBU BroadcastPro ME Summit in Dubai, Mohamed Youssif, CEO of YahLive, said: “Television technology rolls in twenty year cycles. Two decades ago we witnessed the birth of digital broadcasting and the subsequent explosion in television channels across the region. Now we are seeing the rapid emergence of the next generation of technology and that is high definition.”
Joining a panel discussion on establishing a sustainable business model for Middle East television, Mohammed Youssif added: “The MENA market has a strong appetite for content choice and a quality viewing experience. Standard definition broadcast channels will lose viewers to those which offer an immersive, ‘being there’ experience in high definition.
“HD is becoming the ‘new normal’ for TV channels across the region and consumer demand is driving broadcasters to convert to high definition. The benefit of YahLive is that we offer a platform exclusively for HD channels which television households across the MENA region can access simply by installing a satellite dish at 52.5 degrees East.”
Presently there are about 650 channels broadcasting to the MENA region with the vast majority being free-to-air. However, in response to the increasing demand for HD, broadcasters will need to upgrade their production and play out broadcast centres to deliver HD content, which is a costly process.
“We believe the future direction of the regional television market will be driven by the willingness of consumers to pay a modest price for content and quality. As capacity constraints become a challenge for broadcasters, and with advertisers unwilling to pay for a premium for HD advertising, broadcasters will be forced to find alternative revenue streams. Those that make the transition to HD will be the winners,” Youssif added.
Other panelists at the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit included Dr. Riyadh Najm, Deputy Minister of Information Affairs, Saudi MOCI; Nart Bouran, Head of Sky News Arabia, Peter Einstein, Deputy CEO, Rotana and Mohammed Al Shahi, CEO, Dubai Media Inc.
In less than one year since launch, YahLive has reportedly created an exclusive HD bouquet of more than 40 quality channels including Saudi TV, Dubai Media Incorporated, Abu Dhabi Media, Cartoon Network Arabia, GEM, MBC and three from Europe that appeal to diverse audiences. By year-end 2012, YahLive’s bouquet will increase to 50 channels.