Filter blogs by:

Understanding the importance of adapting to Broadcast 2.0 in MENA and beyond

A look at how industry change is accelerating and what technologies broadcasters and operators need to adopt for success in the new Broadcast 2.0 era.

cabsat dubai 2024

This year, CABSAT celebrated its 30th Anniversary, and it is remarkable to think about how much the industry has changed over those years. The launch of the iPhone and Netflix were both still over a decade in the future when the first show took place, as were the first High-Definition TV broadcasts. The growth of mobile television, streaming, 4K UHD, and HDR have all changed and are still changing the industry. And CABSAT is just the sort of show that provides a glimpse into the still-evolving future, deepens our understanding of the present, and informs us just how quickly the new Broadcast 2.0 models are developing.

There are many changes underway in the MENA region. Digital TV Research forecasts that Pay-TV revenues for the 13 Arabic-speaking countries will be $802 million by 2029. This is just over half of the $1.57 billion that was recorded in 2016. Meanwhile, SVOD numbers are accelerating rapidly. So we know that the figures are comparable and collected using the same methodologies; the same company forecasts that there will be 26 million SVOD subscriptions across 13 Arabic countries by 2029, up from 14 million in 2023. 

VO Super Aggregator banner

Interestingly, it also forecasts that Netflix will lose its market leadership in the region by 2029 to Shahid VIP. Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, commented: As some of the US-based platforms lower their global rollout and local content commitments, the Arabic players will thrive.”

So, there is all to play for. But I would argue that certainly one of the key aspects of success in the region in the next 30 months, never mind the next 30 years, lies in the understanding of how Broadcast 2.0 is changing the landscape and what technologies broadcasters and operators can leverage for success in the new era.

What is Broadcast 2.0?

After many decades of existence, even more than CABSAT, the era of traditional linear TV is now over. The old model of an industry producing content using SDI-based technology and then mass broadcasting it to large TV sets plugged into the walls at the same time is behind us. If you were setting up a new TV service now, you would base all production on IP and, even if you did decide to distribute channels in the old way, would augment that with streaming and app-based services that would provide the minimum of multi-device networked PVR functionality that your audiences expect.

This is Broadcast 2.0: television for the truly digital age. The audience is made up of an increasing number of cord-cutters and cord-nevers, a younger generation that has never seen the need to sign up for Pay-TV or even Free-To-Air services (and don’t forget, 60% of the MENA population is under 30, and the median age is 27, eleven years younger than in the US and a massive 17 younger than in Europe - when demographic-driven change hits it hits us first). It is an audience that does not pick up a remote control to browse an EPG and ‘see what’s on’, but one that boots up TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube on their devices and starts their content consumption journey in a totally different way to previous generations.

What is important to realize, though, is that a successful Broadcast 2.0 strategy involves more than just following this audience onto mobile devices and trending platforms. It involves integrating digital transformation throughout the broadcast chain.

Implementing transformation 

Updating a business to be able to compete effectively in the Broadcast 2.0 age starts with a necessary overhaul of legacy OTT platforms. Rather than being seen as an afterthought, as those often were, the next-generation content distribution platforms that are being developed for Broadcast 2.0 need to be positioned centrally in broadcast strategies. Their key differentiator over the first-generation OTT technologies is their ability to offer hyper-personalized services. That means that broadcasters must do two things to fully maximize their potential:

  • Implement solid data strategies that stretch from content creation or ingest onwards to delivery and beyond onto social platforms
  • Use AI-driven data analytics to understand their audiences and offer them the individualized services that they demand

New developments in AI are important here. Consumer data is an invaluable asset in the digital age and is becoming even more so as legislation restricting the ways it can be used is implemented around the world. Sophisticated AI analytics allows broadcasters to analyze their user data to deliver content that engages their audience by addressing their interests, ensuring content not only captures but retains their attention. And does that consistently time after time.

Furthermore, this strategy of offering individual content can also be tied in with targeted TV advertising, creating customized campaigns aligned with viewer preferences and behaviors, which both maximizes broadcaster’s ad inventory and minimizes ad load and viewer fatigue.

The future is now

Broadcast 2.0 is not the future of broadcasting; it is the present. The efficient and cost-effective implementation of hyper-personalization in both content and advertising is possible now and is something that audiences, and the younger demographic in particular, demands. The ability to customize the media and the marketing messages to align with individual preferences and behaviors across multiple platforms is going to be key to success as the transition into Broadcast 2.0 accelerates. It is a strategy that not only enhances viewer satisfaction and reduces churn but also introduces new revenue streams.

The transition from linear TV to a digital-focused model is both necessary if content providers want to engage with their audiences and inevitable as consumer behavior continues to evolve. Advanced technology, AI, and sophisticated data analytics will combine to improve the viewing experience.

The industry has changed enormously in the 30 years since the first CABSAT was held, and the pace of change is only getting faster. 

For VO, we are celebrating another year of significant growth in our customer base and advancements within our portfolio. But there is little time, as the phrase has it, to stop and smell the roses. In line with our commitment to innovation and coping with the speed of progress, we are unveiling our next-gen content enrichment, discovery, and personalization module at the show. It offers an immersive user experience through dynamically tailored and customized storefronts, and is powered by best-in-class AI engines and offered in partnership with industry leaders such as Azure. Perhaps more importantly, it is set to revolutionize user journeys and editorial curation in exactly the way that Broadcast 2.0 demands across MENA and beyond.

Sammer Elia

Sammer Elia is the Business Development Director of the MENA region at Viaccess-Orca. Sammer holds a wealth of sales and business development experience from working at multinational companies including Nokia, NEC, Oracle, EXFO, and Orange. Prior to joining VO, Elia was the Sales and Business Development Director, ANZ, at Broadpeak. Before that, Elia spearheaded the multimedia and APM business unit at ILS Technologies, where he applied visionary strategies to accelerate the company’s success and growth. In the span of four years, he transformed ILS Technologies into an essential partner for OTT and APM across the region.