Online Content Bottlenecks in Arabia are loosening up

| Jul 25, 2010 | comment Leave a comment

Online Content Bottlenecks are loosening up

Looks like all are meeting at the content crossroads. Telecoms/ISPs providing higher bandwidth & speed, Media/Entertainment companies bringing the content online, and we users getting ready to use all that. I skipped Advertisers, let’s give’em a break.

The amount of direct online content piracy on Arabic websites could really shock you out if you weren’t the type that listens to Arabic music. You can download, stream, and do whatever you want with full albums of the latest titles for free, not on some obfuscated or hidden websites, torrent, or file-hosting, no, on proud flashing home pages. With all that around for years(showing the amount of interest) the only conclusion often heard was “Arabs like to get Music for Free when it’s digital” such a passive thing to say.

There are a good number of startups n’ initiatives that are serving the IP-Entertainment right now, and many to come as they’re buzzing in the market. The first of its kind Shofha.com(reviewed here) was a real winner as one of the first entrants to get a slice of Rotana‘s content, Rotana being the biggest Media company in Arabia and one of the biggest bottlenecks for online growth of Arabic Entertainment.

In Ramadan of 2009, MBC Group, and Dubai Media Incorporated(DMI) had all their Ramdan content Aired(or better put Streamed) Online. Both of the services looked identical in core and style and were provided by Etisalat. Although both of the services looked experimental they exceeded the expectations as DMI does use the same system today. These initiatives were good enough to give online viewers a choice to view online and with better quality than what usually gets posted on video sites such as Youtube or Ikbis. So it saved viewers the time to search for content and gave them a better quality, okay let’s mention advertisers now, and got some of the TVCs ported online.

Earlier in June ADMC announced plans to launch VEVO in the middle east, which was big enough News to get us waiting for the content that is promised for Q1 2011.

During the Worldcup Al Jazeera Sports was the Exclusive right holder for Worldcup games, and they did Air it online as well. Yep, you could really watch the matches in high quality streaming from Al Jazeera Sports website. Are we there yet?

And last week’s mega announcement of Rotana signing with Yahoo! which shockingly did not get enough press. I wonder why. Rotana, region’s Arabic content kingdom goes online with Yahoo! So Yahoo! gets the rights to use Rotana’s content from Movies, Serials, Music, and some of the Radio & TV channels in an advertised(as opposed to pay per view) model. Yahoo! = Big Reach, Rotana = Quality Arabic Content. Do the math.

And today, ADMC announced their subscription models for English Premiere League, and guess what, there’s an Internet version of the subscription for a whole season for AED 220($60).

Gear up, as a user, get that HD screen ready, and upgrade that Internet connection.

But, what does it have in for start-ups & entrepreneurs? If you look closely or even not closely, all the above mentioned companies are Giant media companies doin’ the talk. Even Shofha.com is part of LinkdotNET which is basically a big player in telecoms in Egypt and has been the gatekeeper for MSN Arabia as long as we can remember, and on the side, LinkdotNET is the online partner for Rotana on almost all their websites. With all the fuss and monopolizing initiatives in the Media business, there are still lots of content to bring online. Although most of the production companies tend to go online themselves, DMI & MBC Group included, there are a great deal of quality content out there to yet tap. Talk about Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt with great history in TV & Radio production, there are a great deal of niches to discover, and since the mainstream media is going streamed, the smaller players will have a chance to dive in.

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