Disney+ battles rivals in the Middle East streaming market

A smartphone with the ‘Disney’ logo displayed is seen on the keyboard in front of the words ‘Streaming Service’ displayed in this illustration taken March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo/File Photo

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DUBAI, June 9 (Reuters) – Disney+ (DIS.N) launched its steam streaming service in the Middle East and North Africa on Wednesday, vying for market share in a region with a young but sparse population. people are using such services so far.

Disney+ said it went live in 16 Arab countries and was tailoring content to the region, including offering Arabic subtitles on most offerings, especially popular content.

Netflix currently leads the region, with more than 6.8 million subscribers, according to Digital TV Research. Starzplay, an Abu Dhabi-based competitor, ranks second with just under 2 million, followed by Amazon with 1.4 million.

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Some competitors offer original content in Arabic. Netflix is ​​already working on the second seasons of its popular series “Al Rawabi School for Girls” and “Finding Ola”.

MBC Group’s streaming platform Shahid has ordered an Arabic version of British comedy “The Office”. Regional competitor OSN has an Arabic version of the American legal series “Suits”.

OSN previously had the rights to stream Disney+ original content.

Starzplay is also working on original Arabic content, its CEO Maaz Sheikh told Reuters last week. He said the region had plenty of room for growth, as streaming penetration was 10%.

Digital TV Research predicts that Netflix will increase its base to 11 million by 2027 and Disney+ will then take second place with nearly 6.5 million. Amazon is expected to reach 4.8 million subscribers by 2027 and Starzplay just under 3 million.

At a Disney+ pre-launch event at Dubai Opera, Egyptian director Mohamed Diab of Marvel Studios’ “Moon Knight” was promoting the original superhero series, which is making its regional debut. .

His wife, Sarah Goher, was also a producer on the series, which features ancient Egyptian gods.

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Reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by Bradley Perrett

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