Covid-19 accelerates growth in digital entertainment – News

Mena region players spent 24% more time playing in 2020 than in 2019

Dubai – Consumers in the region are taking more control over their own media consumption, in the face of an ever-expanding range of channels and content

Posted: Mon March 22, 2021, 12:06 PM

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to digital entertainment, forcing businesses in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to change their business models to capture the growth of the content on demand.

According to a recent PwC report on the outlook for the entertainment industry in the Mena region, the damage to physical media spending, from box office receipts from the cinema to concerts, corporate events and advertising in the media, mean revenues in the region are expected to decline 8.3% to $ 19.7 billion. However, spending is expected to gradually return to 2019 levels based on an effective Covid-19 vaccine widely available in the region, and continue to grow from 2022. Overall, entertainment and entertainment revenues media are forecast to increase by 3% in the region between 2019 and 2024, exceeding the 2% forecast globally.

Fadi Komati, technology consultancy partner at PwC Middle East, said the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath have “moved the future forward” as consumers in the region take more control of their own consumption of media, faced with a broadening of the range of channels and content.

“This would not have been possible without the accelerated adoption of 5G technology in some markets, which has enabled governments to expand digital infrastructures such as broadband broadband access and content delivery networks to enable content streaming and new content consumption experiences at home and on the go, ”he said. In addition, the advent of new 5G technologies has provided opportunities to improve government transparency and enabled new, more inclusive ways of interacting with the public.

The PwC report found that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of streaming video content (OTT video) and music in the region and has further boosted the popularity of online games. In fact, when the nationwide blocks started, 50% of OTT video subscribers increased the time they spent watching. Digital audio – both streaming or downloaded music and podcasts – has also grown in popularity. In 2020, the music streaming platform Anghami reported a 25% increase in the number of music listeners compared to 2019.

Another winning sector during the pandemic has been the online gaming sector. Players in the Mena region spent 24% more time playing in 2020 than in 2019, compared to an 11% increase globally.

“The pandemic has been a game-changer for the gaming industry, with many more users exposed to gaming as sporting events and leisure activities in general shut down,” said Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank. “According to game consumption data, the average American adult spends about an hour a day socially playing online, and e-sports streaming is growing in popularity. A good indication of this came in 2019 when the CEO of Netflix said that the company’s biggest threat was not Disney or HBO, but Fortnite, one of the most popular games in the world.

In 2019, before the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry generated $ 120 billion in revenue and by 2021 it is expected that 2.7 billion people will be playing games on a platform. or another. The industry, Garnry said, has benefited a lot from smartphones allowing them to steal time from people who commute to work, or even when they have a spare moment.

“The gaming industry is a high growth industry, with revenue growth of 37% in 2020, as the pandemic has increased demand for games as a means of socializing and entertainment while many traditional leisure activities were closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, ”Garnry mentioned. “The future of gaming will see fierce competition as highly profitable growth attracts large tech companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft to the industry. VR / AI is expected to become more features. dominant players in the future, but, so far, Facebook’s bet with Oculus hasn’t turned into the success everyone predicted.

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