Asked to highlight technologies that are impacting the industry, Alberto Via, CEO, Overon, spoke of the cloud and the shift to IP as allowing broadcasters to make massive deployments with minimal cost. He also believes 5G will happen, driven by the internet of things, and will help bridge the gap with regard to last mile connectivity across the MENA.
Complementing the need of the broadcasters to shift cost-effectively to HD, Yaser Hassan, Director Transmission Operations, Arabsat, highlighted the operators’ use of spot beams enabling broadcasters to have dedicated coverage, and the capabilities of the new generation satellites, Badr 5 and Badr 7, that allow broadcasters greater bandwidth.
Hassan Ghoul, Director MEA, IABM, pinpointed efficiency and cost reduction as primary concerns for the industry and believes the increasing use of AI will help broadcasters improve their workflows. In a response to a question from the audience, he stated that IP infrastructure helps future-proof the production facility in terms of expansion, but concedes that the workforce will need a skills’ upgrade.
Johan de Nolf, Product Manager, Newtec, spoke of VR and the need for the industry to prepare to accommodate more megabits per second. He also highlighted the latest technological evolution in news gathering that allows for a seamless shift between satellite, 3G and 4G.
An impactful presentation on ‘Advertising in the MENA’ by Elie Aoun, CEO MENAP, IPSOS Connect, highlighted the lion’s share of advertising enjoyed by television, country-wise breakdown of advertising spend, the disproportionate share of advertising on TV serials versus other programmes, among other issues.
The final panel discussion brought together disrupters in the region.
Moderated by industry analyst Chris Forrester, Nadine Samra, VP Digital Business, Zee, spoke of penetrating markets across the MENA with South Asian content dubbed in Arabic and African languages. Sub Sahara Africa and Southern Africa were big markets for the channel, she stated.
Karim Saade, Senior Director, Intigral, said they are not shooting for the billion dollar deals and are focusing on sports properties in the MENA such as the popular Lebanese basketball circuit. On the difficult question of monetisation, Saade said, unlike in Europe, which is driven by subscription, advertising and B2B with Telcos is the way forward for regional players.
Day two closed with Wael Al Buti, Vice President and CCO, Arabsat, thanking the ministers and delegates for attending Arabsat’s ninth customer forum.