News & Trends

Netflix continues to push into MENA’s entertainment industry with OSN

The world’s leading internet entertainment service is getting a little help from the region’s leading paid subscription television services in order to improve MENA region penetration.

Created in 1997, Netflix has become the number one place for people to entertain themselves online. The company has been trying to expand into the MENA region since 2016, when they first launched the service in the region.

In order to improve their reach within the region, Netflix has partnered up with fellow entertainment hub Orbit Show Network (OSN) so “customers will be able to seamlessly access and enjoy all the best entertainment in one place.” (Maria Ferreras, VP Business Development for EMEA at Netflix)

The deal provides OSN users access to Netflix’s large content library, with OSN’s newest boxes, and will allow users the ability to pay for both services in one bill.

According to Netflix’s press release, “The deal will offer access to Hollywood movies, top TV shows, documentaries, independent films, stand-up comedy and a wide range of kid’s titles and Netflix’s critically-acclaimed original programming. Customers will also have access to exclusive series and films in Ultra HD 4K and HDR…”

It is a surprising move from OSN, who has been suffering losses since Netflix’s introduction to the region.

According to Baizat, OSN’s losses can be directly correlated to Netflix’s official appearance in the region, previously used illegally and behind VPNs.

After becoming available in MENA, people were able to officially pay for Netflix subscriptions which may have led to a 10.50% drop in subscribers for OSN.

This partnership deal is Netflix’s first real push into the MENA market, with the internet entertainment service having only two Arab created content series planned so far.


Who would the partnership benefit the most?

According to global international analytics company IHS Markit, “[Netflix and Amazon Prime Video] launched in the MENA region in 2016, but a lack of localization resulted in a relatively weak entrance, leaving [them] with just a fifth of the market in 2017. Established players, too, are struggling to rack up subscribers despite some impressive integration practices with the local telecommunication companies.”

IHS Markit stated in a separate report that Netflix would have more to gain from this partnership, stating that they were behind other competitors such as MBC’s Shahid Plus.

It went on to confirm this, “One of the major problems that Netflix is facing in MENA is the lack of partnerships and deals with telcos and pay TV operators that aids the accessibility of its service to the considerably large MENA pay TV subscriber bases.

These partnerships have the added benefit for OTT subscription services of reducing customer acquisition costs and taking the hassle out of having to collect payments in a region with low penetration of credit cards and, in some countries, even bank accounts.”

So, basically, Netflix has a lot to gain from this partnership, a big way into the heart of the MENA region.

Netflix may also help OSN out, who has been having issues with a declining customer base for a few years now, maybe a touch of Netflix will boost its numbers.


What else is Netflix doing to further penetration?

One of the greatest things about Netflix lately is their high-quality, award winning self-produced shows, movies and documentaries. The company has also expanded into other languages such as Spanish to improve penetration and content value across the world.

Netflix has been so successful with their original entertainment that they have started poaching from big name production companies, especially famous writers and directors.

Seeing their success rise with original content, Netflix has already decided to try and create localized content for the region as well.

They are already producing Beirut comedian Adel Karam’s “Adel Karam: Live from Beirut,” a comedy show centering discussing “how Lebanese people love kissing each other, their passion for food, hospital classifications, marriage advice” and more.

With Netflix, added together with rival Amazon Prime Video, having only 21% of the local market in 2017, Netflix’s new partnership and content may be exactly what they need to improve their stay.

Netflix may see that they need to create more localized content, but are they doing enough? Let us know in the comments below.

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