On the "Retention Zone" podcast hosted by Carlo De Marchis, I had the opportunity to delve into the intricate world of streaming in the Middle East, North Africa (MENA), and India. My journey in this dynamic industry has been both enlightening and challenging, revealing the unique aspects of these diverse markets.
My Journey in the Streaming Industry:
My story begins in Marseille, France, but it's in Dubai where I've spent over a decade shaping my career and building a family. It was here that I founded The Streaming Lab, driven by a need to understand the complexities of MENA's streaming services. The project started modestly on LinkedIn, where I posted about the myriad of local streaming services. Surprised by the community's response, I realized there was much more to explore. This led to the launch of my newsletter and podcast, where I analyze a mix of over 60 local and international streaming services active in the region.
Streaming Market Dynamics in MENA
The MENA region, with its 8% streaming penetration, presents a landscape vastly different from Western markets. Local streaming services, numbering around 45, have a deeper connection with their audience than global giants. These international platforms often find themselves at a disadvantage, lacking the localized strategies and on-ground teams essential for success in these diverse markets.
Challenges in Customer Loyalty and Retention:
A personal experience with a streaming service's loyalty program, or the lack thereof, led me to ponder the industry's approach to customer retention. Despite being a loyal customer, I noticed a discrepancy in how streaming services treat their long-term subscribers. The revelation of Shahid's subscriber numbers and churn rates, which became public following its IPO, shed light on the effectiveness of hybrid AVOD-SVOD models in minimizing churn impacts. This balance between retaining existing customers and attracting new ones is a critical issue facing streaming services today.
Looking Ahead: Future Prospects and Strategies:
I'm optimistic about the growth potential of streaming in MENA, though it requires a nuanced approach. Streaming services must not only understand but also embrace the region's unique characteristics. International vendors aspiring to succeed here need to show their commitment to the region, not just through temporary engagements but through sustained efforts and local representation.
The conversation with Carlo was a deep dive into the ever-evolving world of streaming, media, and sports technology. As we navigate these industries, adapting to regional peculiarities remains key to success. Carlo's suggestion to revisit this discussion later in the year reflects the rapid changes and ongoing developments in these sectors. As for myself, I continue to explore these dynamics through The Streaming Lab, constantly learning and sharing insights into this fascinating industry.
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