Speaking at the Cabsat Convention in Dubai, Ghassan Murat, VP of business development and trategy at Eutelsat Dubai, said: “Eutelsat is dedicated to accompanying the uptake of HD and a diversity of free-to-air channels on our satellites.
“Our 2016 survey in MENA confirmed the pole position of the 7/8° West neighbourhood we share with Nilesat, which serves 52.3 million homes, up from 49.7 million in 2014. A new wave of growth enabled by the Eutelsat 8 West B satellite has seen an almost 50% hike in High Definition channels over the last year, further consolidating 7/8° West as the place to be in the Middle East and North Africa.”
With 175 HD channels, of which 100 are exclusive, the 7/8° West position is setting the pace for HD broadcasting in the Middle East and North Africa. Free-to-air Arabic HD content now outnumbers pay, with almost 100 channels, compared to 77 pay-TV channels. The demand for HD reflects the increasing penetration of HD screens in MENA homes which has crossed the tipping point of 50% on average per country.