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Qatar’s Es’hailSat Looking To Enter Over-The-Top Media Services Market

Artist’s conception of Es’hailSat’s Es’hail-2 telecommunications satellite. Credits: MELCO.

The Qatar Satellite Company, Es’hailSat, broadcaster of over 180 TV channels across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), is mulling expansion into the growing over-the-top (OTT) media services market, an Es’hailSat executive said in a recent interview with Qatari newspaper The Peninsula.

OTT media services are video, data, and voice streaming services that are provided directly to the consumer via the internet instead of traditional media service distributors such as cable companies, television broadcasters, and satellite television channels. Examples of OTT media today include Netflix, Apple TV+, and Hulu, among many others.

OTT media services are viewed on computers, mobile devices, digital media players, video game consoles, and smart televisions, and can be delivered to consumers using fiber optic cables and high throughput satellite broadband, or a combination of both.

Es’hailSat operates the Es’hail-1 and Es’hail-2 communications satellites that are currently transmitting high quality, premium direct-to-home (DTH) television content across the MENA region.

Es’hailsat also launched its new teleport in Doha in 2019 to provide customers with secure satellite transmissions, back-up studios for TV channels, and serve as a disaster recovery facility for its broadcast customers.

“We’re studying a number of options for expansion. But the new trend that we can see a future in is the OTT services. These are growing very fast, and we might think about these services also in the future. The company is thinking in different ways. Either we need to build a new satellite, a new requirement, or see the global market and try to, for example, acquire startup companies or new technologies,” Mohamed Al Sayed, Es’hailSat’s Sales Director, told The Peninsula during the recently held Qatar Entrepreneurship Conference.

A recent study titled ‘OTT Video Trends Report’ by Grabyo, a cloud-based video production and distribution platform, finds that the market penetration of OTT media services stands at 39 percent and that OTT is now more popular for video than pay-for-television in all territories.

The Grabyo study also reveals that Netflix is the most popular OTT streaming service with 54 percent market penetration in all territories, and 61 percent market penetration in English-speaking countries. In 2017 the worldwide OTT media services market was valued at U.S.$26 billion and is estimated to be valued at U.S.$92 billion by 2026 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.1 percent.

Es’hailSat is always looking to constantly evolve in order to offer the latest technologies available, Al Sayed told The Peninsula.

“Right now, in the global satellite market, there’s high-throughput satellite technology that offers very high speed satellite internet services. We’re also studying this technology. For now, we have enough capacity. But in the future, we need to look into different services, and not just for TV channels and internet services. We need to look on the services that can help the companies, especially the telecommunications, oil and gas, and other customers to provide them with very high quality services,” said Al Sayed.

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