Israel To Be First Middle East and North Africa Country To Have 100% Digital TV Households by 2017

Report predicts legitimate pay TV revenues for the 16 countries will hit $3.67 billion in five years time.

LONDON – Israel is set to become the first country in the Middle East and North Africa region to reach a 100 percent household digital TV penetration rate by 2017, a fresh report said.

The report, published by U.K. company Digital TV Research Monday (03/19), says the recent social and political turmoil that rocked the Middle East and North Africa region has resulted in liberalization measures, which will open up the pay TV sector.

According to the research, of the 16 countries covered in the Digital TV Middle East & North Africa report – including Israel, Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and Turkey – digital TV penetration has reach 705 of households to date.

Report author Simon Murray said: “Digital TV Research forecasts that digital penetration will reach 85 percent of TV households by 2017. Ten countries will achieve 100% penetration [and Israel will be the first to reach it – this year] by 2017.”

But while penetration in Egypt, the largest Arab-speaking market, will be low at 58 percent the territory will still boast 11.98 million digital TV homes by 2017 putting it into second-place behind Turkey  with 18.89 million households.

Currently more than 56 percent of TV households across the region watch free-to-air DTH signals and there are more than 500 FTA channels serving the Arab world.

Many do not operate in what the report calls “a true commercial environment” as they are bankrolled by their local government or by a wealthy patron.

FTA DTH penetration will continue to vary considerably among the 16 countries; being highest in Algeria (88%), Jordan (86%), Lebanon (83%) and Morocco (83%) by 2017.

The report also found that a paltry 12.6 percent of TV households legitimately paid for TV signals (analog and digital) by the beginning of this year.

But that proportion is tipped to climb gradually to 17.1 percent by 2017.

The report indicates that legitimate pay TV revenues for the 16 countries will grow by more than 20 percent between 2012 and 2017 hitting $3.67 billion.

DTH will continue to dominate, though IPTV will grow fast and cable will lose share.

Turkey and Israel are expected to contribute $2.4 billion of the 2017 total, leaving only $1.3 billion for the remaining 14 countries (or an average of $91 million each.