UAE homegrown subscription video on demand (SVOD) service and digital start-up STARZ PLAY has reported a significant growth as it reaches one million subscribers.
Since inception in 2014, the business has successfully secured $125 million in three rounds of funding, with major investors including STARZ/Lionsgate (40 percent), SSGA – formerly GE Asset Management (40 percent) and SEQ Investors, and Delta Partners and Founders/Management (20 percent). STARZ PLAY has secured tie ups with a host of leading, global studios including MGM, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Warner Bros, Universal and Fox International Channels.
Maaz Sheikh, CEO and Co-Founder at STARZ PLAY, said, “It’s an exciting time for STARZ PLAY – particularly our reaching one million subscribers this year. We look forward to continuing to build on our success as we progress with our expansion plans across MENA into 2019 and beyond. In an increasingly competitive space, we have managed to differentiate our offering to the benefit of the customer, through working closely with partner telecom providers to offer subscribers a payment method that does not rely only on online subscription, as well as by investing in world-class content that people want to watch and watch again.
“In 2019, we will continue to focus on the customer, and will seek to increase market share as well our subscriber base, with additional investments enabling further geographical expansion. In terms of the market, conditions are looking favourable for our sector, helping STARZ PLAY go from strength to strength, with SVOD revenues in the MENA region predicted to reach $2.1 billion by 2024.”
Key milestones for STARZ PLAY in 2018 included: a five-year deal signing with Etisalat; the signing of a strategic partnership with eXtra; a three-year deal signing with STC/Intigral; the launch of STARZ PLAY Pakistan in September; the signing of a partnership with Samsung in October, and, securing a partnership agreement with Mobily in November.
Now available in 20 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, with more than 10,000 hours of content including premium movies, exclusive series, Bollywood movies as well as Arabic series, STARZ PLAY has secured its place as the number one player in the MENA region in terms of online video subscriptions and online video revenues – with a leading marketshare of 24 percent and 31.53 percent respectively.