A consumer research paper was presented by Claudia Vaccarone, Head of Market Research & Customer Experience, Eutelsat at the BroadcastPro summit before its global release.
Based on updates from the Eutelsat TV Observatory 2017 and on a survey of the largest MENA countries that involved 4,000 face-to-face interviews in June-July 2017, Claudia Vaccarone, Head of Market Research & Customer Experience at Eutelsat, presented a MENA research paper entitled TV reception modes and the rise of high definition: Updates from the Eutelsat TV Observatory 2017.
Presented for the first time at the ASBU BroadcastPro ME Selevision Summit 2017 before its global release, the survey was conducted in collaboration with Ipsos MENA.
Commenting on the choice of countries, Vaccarone said: We surveyed four countries: Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. These four countries alone represent 70% of the TV homes in the region and so we get a good sense of the changes since last year. For the rest, we aggregated data from the 2016 edition. The whole area comprises 14 Arabic-speaking markets.
Among the first insights gained from the study, the increase in TV homes in the region was evident. Vaccarone explained: The number of TV homes went from 60.8m to 62.6m, which indicates a 4% growth in the four countries. 1.8m more TV homes in the region is significant and speaks for the ongoing demographic growth.
Moving to the issue of TV reception, the object of the study, Vaccarone noted: This year, like last year, offered no surprises in that satellite TV remains the favoured digital infrastructure to access television in 94% of TV homes, rising to 58.9m TV homes, up from 56.3m TV homes last year. This represents a healthy growth of 7%.
While observing that except for the UAE and Saudi Arabia, IPTV has a very small installed base compared to the reach of satellite in countries such as Egypt and Morocco, Vaccarone said: We are also seeing exclusive DTT reception reducing to 0.6m TV homes and exclusive analogue TV homes reducing to 1.9m in favour of satellite.
Looking at the rise of HDTV, Vaccarone observed: In terms of equipment, we are seeing strong growth from year to year with more TV homes equipped to enjoy HDTV with at least one TV screen. An estimated 28.2m homes this year have been equipped with HDTV, up from 17.7 in 2016, and this is a conservative figure, considering the growth has been measured only in the four countries surveyed.
Consumers are getting used to the better image quality. And to match the expectation, there is increasing content, with HD channels at the Eutelsat 7/8° W neighbourhood growing from 133 to 179 in 12 months. 20.6m homes in the four surveyed countries and 66% on average in the 14 Arabic-speaking markets, are receiving HDTV at these locations. This is a growth of 90%, since last year only 10m homes received HDTV.
Noting that the broadcast industry is not just about addressing consumers at home, Vaccarone said: We talked to 147 five-star hotels in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and the UAE. We selected countries that enjoy high traffic from business travellers and tourists. We wanted to understand how luxury hotels access TV channels, and there were interesting insights.
The average number of channels offered to guests is 132, and 75% of the hotels access television via satellite. In terms of equipment, HDTV and surprisingly 4K screens are part of the premium experience, with 73% of fivestar hotels having close to 100% of their rooms HD equipped.
44% of the hotels we talked to had more than 50% of their channels in HD so HD is really perceived as a differentiator that adds to the consumer experience. Sports and news channels are the more popular of available HD content.
Lastly, 77% of the five-star hotels we talked to wanted to reduce SD channels to provide more HD channels, and 89% consider HD as very important to the mix of services for their guests.
Vacarrone reiterated that satellite will remain a key video-delivery infrastructure across the MENA.
With initiatives such as its Sat. TV app to help consumers navigate through FTA channels they offer, Eutelsat executives at the summit suggested that the roadmap ahead will feature greater interactivity and hybrid offerings.