New data from Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) shows that the trend towards High Definition broadcasting is accelerating in the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting consumer appetite for an enhanced viewing experience.
Speaking at the Cabsat Convention in Dubai, Ghassan Murat, Vice President of Business Development & Strategy at Eutelsat Dubai, said: “Eutelsat is dedicated to accompanying the uptake of HD and a diversity of free-to-air channels on our satellites. Our 2016 survey in MENA confirmed the pole position of the 7/8° West neighbourhood we share with Nilesat, which serves 52.3 million homes, up from 49.7 million in 2014. A new wave of growth enabled by the EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite has seen an almost 50% hike in High Definition channels over the last year, further consolidating 7/8° West as the place to be in the Middle East and North Africa.”
HD passing a tipping point
With 175 HD channels, of which 100 are exclusive, the 7/8° West position is setting the pace for HD broadcasting in the Middle East and North Africa. Free-to-air Arabic HD content now outnumbers pay, with almost 100 channels, compared to 77 pay-TV channels. The demand for HD reflects the increasing penetration of HD screens in MENA homes which has crossed the tipping point of 50% on average per country.