For the first time in modern history, the world had to stay at home due to a microscopic virus that made big governments call out for help. As people were confined to the boundaries of their residences, a heavy surge was noticed in the traffic on over-the-top (OTT) platforms. From Netflix and Amazon Prime to AppleTV+ and OSN, every platform grew by a rate they would never have imagined in a short span of time. The top 5 video streaming services in UAE witnessed the biggest rise in user base. The digital entertainment sector was one of the few industries that gained from the stay-at-home orders.
The growth OTT content sector is evident and the list of new platforms being added is shooting like a star! A similar growth outlook was witnessed on OTT platforms in UAE and the Middle East. Streaming services expanded both in popularity and numbers.
A number of movies and TV shows were available for consumers in UAE to entertain themselves at a time when almost everything was shut. The audience moved to digital video streaming services as opposed to traditional television due to the flexibility and low cost of its operations.
When talking about video streaming services, Netflix is the first name that comes to everyone’s mind. Netflix UAE was launched in 2016 with a wide catalog of movies and TV shows. Since then, it has added an impressive portfolio to its service.
Netflix aggressively started producing original content about a year ago and its strategy proved to be a magic wand when lockdowns happened. Its vast catalog of movies, TV shows, and documentaries gained massive popularity. Original series like ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Stranger Things’, and ‘Orange is The New Black’ became instant hits. Netflix UAE also recorded a massive growth during the ‘National Disinfection Programme’ when stay at home order was sent out for the public.
Cost of Netflix UAE- The service usually comes with a 30-day free trial. The Netflix UAE basic plan costs AED29 per month while the standard plan usually comes for AED39 per month. The price of the Netflix UAE premium plan is AED56 per month.
Amazon Prime Video was launched in UAE in June 2019. It is one of the most popular video streaming services in the country. Popular shows on the streaming service include ‘The Office’, ‘The Big Bang Theory’, ‘NCIS’, and many more. The service is also very popular among expats in UAE as it features several Bollywood titles. It also has a dedicated section for Hindi and Tamil movies which makes it more famous among Indian expats in UAE.
Competitive pricing also makes Amazon Prime Video UAE a great option for viewers. Amazon also launched a new service called Prime Video Cinema which enables users to watch films from home on theatrical release.
Cost of Amazon Prime Video UAE- Amazon’s Prime Video subscription comes as a bundle with its normal prime service subscription. Price of Amazon Prime Video UAE is AED16 per month or AED140 per year.
Launched in 2012, OSN Play substituted OSN’s existing television network. Being the region’s biggest legacy pay-tv provider, the company was quick to assess opportunities in OTT services while evaluating its existing business model for the threats posed by newcomers. It offers existing TV subscribers thousands of hours worth of on-demand content. They can also access OSN’s live streaming channels like Comedy Central, Disney Channel, and OSN movies.
OSN Play is now complemented by its streaming service called OSN Streaming. It offers users a range of content including regional and international titles. It has recently added access to Disney+ for its subscriber base. With its existing traditional user base and the new OTT service, OSN went easy for the top 5 video streaming services in UAE.
Cost of OSN UAE- OSN UAE service comes with a 7-day free trial for new users. The price of the OSN UAE post-free trial is AED35 per month.
Apple launched its eagerly awaited AppleTV+ service in UAE on 1 November 2019. The streaming service is available on all Apple devices and some Samsung smart TVs. Subscribers can simultaneously use the service on up to 6 screens from a single subscription.
AppleTV+ is also priced comparatively with some big names on its platform. With an annual budget of USD8 billion for content, the service has some famous shows on its platform like ‘The Morning Show’ starring Witherspoon and Aniston.
Cost of AppleTV+ UAE- The service comes with a 7-day free trial for new users. The price of AppleTV+ is AED19.99 per month after the free trial period.
The online streaming arm of Mumbai-based Eros International, Eros Now targets the expat community and Bollywood fan base in UAE. The service allows subscribers to watch any of the 2,000 movies available on the platform. Aside from movies, users also get web-series, documentaries, and TV shows on Eros Now. Many titles on the service are available in multiple languages including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, and Bengali. The service is only available with a paid subscription. Eros Now enjoys a large user base in UAE that makes it eligible for a spot in the top 5 video streaming services in UAE.
Popular movies on Eros Now include ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, ‘Bajirao Mastani’, ‘Ram Leela’, and ‘Shubh Mangal Savdhaan’.
Cost of Eros Now Premium in UAE- For AED18 per month Eros Premium subscription is available for users in UAE. Price of Eros Now Premium yearly subscription is AED173 per year.
According to industry experts, the boom in video streaming services in UAE and the Middle East is going to last for a while before a saturation level arrives. The on-demand content service has impressed users with the flexibility it possesses an attractive product pricing by key industry players. More streaming services like HBO GO and Hulu are preparing to enter into UAE market. The online video streaming market in the country is expected to grow three-fold over the next two years. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are key markets in the Middle East and host as bases for many video streaming services. Over the next few years, one can only imagine more Arab-centric content with filming happening in UAE.
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