Netflix to Lose Subscriber Lead in Arabic Countries by 2029: Study

Netflix is currently the streaming service with the biggest subscriber base across 13 Arabic-speaking countries but will lose this leadership position by 2029, according to a new forecast.

There will be 26 million SVOD subscriptions across the 13 Arabic markets by 2029, up from 14 million in 2023, according to research company Digital TV Research. Global streamer Netflix had 3.8 million subscribers as of the end of 2023, followed by Shahid VIP, a streamer owned by Middle Eastern media powerhouse MBC Group, with 3.5 million and StarzPlay with 3.0 million, according to the firm’s estimates. The Saudi government owns a majority stake in MBC Group.

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The subscriber picture will, however, change in the coming years. By 2029, Shahid VIP will lead the pack with 5.8 million subscribers in the Arabic-speaking countries, followed by Netflix with 5.6 million and StarzPlay with 5 million, Digital TV Research predicts.

Its forecast also projects that Disney+ and Amazon will each reach 3.2 million subscribers across the Arabic-speaking countries in 2029. Middle Eastern pay TV giant OSN will have 1.5 million subscribers, and Apple TV+ around half a million, the firm predicts.

Netflix has been expanding its offering of Arabic programming since landing, in 2021, its first Arabic original feature, an all-star adaptation of Italian box office hit Perfect Strangers. Its lineup includes the likes of reality series Dubai Bling and the Saudi feature film Naga, which the streamer promoted at the recent Red Sea Film Festival.

“As some of the U.S.-based platforms lower their global rollout and local content commitments, the Arabic players will thrive,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research.

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