CABSAT is the largest event in the MEASA region for professional media and entertainment, featuring leading content service providers, technology vendors, satellite operators, telecom providers, and equipment manufacturers across the globe. Concluded over a month ago, this annual event at the Dubai World Trade Center is a prominent broadcast, digital media, and satellite communications platform for broadcasters, content distributors, production studios, animation and graphics solutions, software and application developers, and industry peers to discover latest innovations, address industry challenges, source products and services, gauge trends and market intelligence to explore potential collaboration for effective functioning of the ecosystem. The media industry is witnessing a monumental transformation, with multi-screen TV viewing becoming the new norm through VOD, IPTV, and OTT services. There is high optimism around adoption and the uptake of these revolutionary trends, due to burgeoning appetite for premium, non-conventional content with a sophisticated, no-frills user interface for TV everywhere.

Industry Outlook

The media and entertainment industry in MEASA is considered to be one of the fastest growing regions in the world at over 10% CAGR. Evaluated at $65 billion, there is immense potential in the industry for global and regional players to explore and accelerate business opportunities by convergence and consolidations. Although over 900 free-to air (FTA) TV channels are being served in the region, the rising trend of multi-screen TV viewing is fueled by high speed penetration, multi-device use, and a youth-driven demography. Despite staggering growth numbers, there are imminent concerns restraining growth of Pay TV services. Some of the major dampeners expressed by industry stakeholders at the Content Congress include rampant piracy, fragmented digital readiness in the region, isolated broadband connectivity, under-monetized content, and abundance of FTA channels.

Broadcast and Production Technology

The exhibitors at the event showcased cutting-edge technology and products which are shaping the industry world over. A comprehensive coverage of broadcast and production vendors included cameras and ancillary equipment, 360 video, 3D video, 4K and UHD production kits, IP-based workflow software, motion capture technology, sportcasting, lighting, and studio set-up. The Avid exhibit at the event featured innovative broadcast graphics, media creation tool, newsroom and asset management solutions to optimize workflows, studio display tool TD control, NEXIS storage and audio solutions for post and live production. Post production solutions to support multiscreen delivery entail animation and VFX, editing software, subtitling and captioning, formatting and conversion to various compression standards for low latency and optimal bandwidth utilization. Bitmovin, Telestream, NexGuard, Avid, Gearhouse Broadcast, LIVE, e-Vision, Conax, Irdeto, Elemental, and Humax are some of the exhibitors with a diverse portfolio of offerings and a strong footprint in the region. Aspera by IBM demonstrated how its cloud-based software converts and transfers high-spec files instantaneously with workflow integration, monitoring and management of files over cloud, enabling remote production, post production in no time, with assured encryption and secure storage. There is a rising trend to adopt cloud services for remote production and live streaming; migrating from legacy production models. However, the cost of migration along with the heavy investment required to deploy cloud is holding back even the leading broadcasters in the region. It is only in the trial or pilot phase for small operations currently. The other concern hindering mainstream cloud usage for media owners is the loss of control over their intellectual property and security for their content. With more data centers mushrooming around the region, private clouds could see growth in the next 5 years.

Satellite Expo

SATEXPO hosted by CABSAT was an incubator for innovation for all satellite related communications, technologies and business solutions in the MENA region. Industry incumbents such as Arabsat, Nilesat, Eutelsat, Eshailsat, Satconsultant, FG Digital, Forsway, and Gulfsat offer services to support evolving business models for media owners and formulate growth strategies. With a promising growth rate of 12% for broadcast and communication satellites in the MENA region, there is a thriving market for start-ups and entrepreneurs financing these ventures. Industry experts held action-packed congress sessions at the event including the UAE Space Agency, Virgin Galactic, BBC and Al Jazeera addressing new and existing commercial challenges and opportunities in the MENA region’s vertical satellite market. The launch of UAE’s new space strategy by UAE Space Agency in the middle of 2017, along with KhalifaSat, an Earth observation satellite designed by the UAE to be launched in 2018 reiterates renewed investment into space technology. The Satellite Hub Summit focused on trending topics such as Spectrum: Satellite & the Next ITU World Radiocommunication Conference, Leveraging Advancing Technologies & Scaling Innovative Services to Evolve Larger & Emergent Markets, In Constellations for Connectivity: 
The Low Earth Orbit Solution Re-born?

OTT Video Services

The MENA region has nearly 56 million unique Internet video viewers according to Frost & Sullivan; and is likely to expand at a CAGR of 39.3% till 2021 at a conservative estimate. Faster penetration of high speed Internet via mobile broadband and Wi-Fi hotspots can drive the market faster and enable cord-shaving. Frost & Sullivan conducted a session at the Content Delivery Hub on OTT video: the essentials for OTT video delivery and monetization outlining key strategies for seamless video delivery across devices and the go-to monetization models for OTT providers. As this remains the unsolved component of the great OTT video success story for majority of the operators, it addressed fundamental loopholes in the ecosystem and how the gap can be bridged by forging a convergence between the Internet service providers, content owners, distribution channels, technology vendors, and consumers.

Content Congress

The congress was a melting pot of revolutionary ideas and industry insights with eminent speakers across the ecosystem engaging and debating key issues plaguing the industry and discussing the future of the television market. The stimulating sessions on topics such as ‘Next Generation TV; Personalised content on demand’, ‘The Future of Video in MENA: what can help the region to accelerate growth for the media sector?’ pointed the right strategies in content, technology, and business models that broadcasters and service providers should pursue, potential skipping of a generation of Pay TV services, and how hybrid models can drive multiscreen Pay TV and SVOD models. Frost & Sullivan presented an industry outlook research paper estimating the Pay TV market to have a linear growth till 2020 despite a significant churn from two of the leading incumbents in the region- Al Majd and OSN. beIN Sports could expect a substantial gain in market share ever since its foray into general entertainment segment. As operators try to strike a balance between competitive pricing and content packaging services, growth remains restrained. The future of TV tends toward a hybrid viewing model with a streamlined co-existence of linear television and a multi-screen delivery ecosystem, enabling on-the-go viewing on multiple devices over broadband, while TV will become a more on-demand (such as VOD) and time-shifted viewing (such as IPTV). The formidable piracy issue looms large over the television market, as paid subscriptions to new platforms are directly impacted due to the existence of pirated content on illegal receivers, FTA channels, and online streaming.


The TV industry is undergoing a massive overhaul with the deluge of new platforms and services to take television beyond the traditional screen. The future of video is inclining toward a hybrid viewing experience with HD and on-demand content. The key to success lies in increased live streaming capability, multiscreen video delivery, migration to cloud storage, and IP-fication of workflows. Targeted digital advertising will ensure a higher reach and conversion for broadcasters; along with personalization of playlists and recommendation based on robust data analytics.

About Frost & Sullivan

For six decades, Frost & Sullivan has been world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success.

Frost & Sullivan

For six decades, Frost & Sullivan has been world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success.

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