Many digital services in region ‘under-served’
Beirut, February 25, 2014
Compared with global trends, many aspects of digital services are under-served in the Middle East region, with many services either absent or immature, said an industry expert.
“Demand in the region for new services – even those which have been successful elsewhere globally – is developing but consumer willingness to pay for them is still to be proven,” added Santino Saguto, Technology, Media and Telecommunications leader at Deloitte Middle East, a major professional services firm.
“Opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and established players exist in many areas of the Digital Services landscape described in this report,” Saguto noted, commenting on a report entitled “Defining the Digital Services landscape for the Middle East” issued by Noor Telecommunications Kuwait, in coordination with Deloitte.
“The landscape definition in this report seeks to be comprehensive and is structured in a way that allows present and potential digital services players to draw their own roadmap to exploit the opportunities in this sector,” said Ayman Al Bannaw, chairman and chief executive officer of Noor Telecommunications.
“It will enable players to identify certain complementary and synergetic roles which they can fulfill to further expand their respective market shares and promote the digital services sector as a whole.”
In addition to introducing a framework to describe the digital services landscape, the report provides observations on the maturity of digital services across the Middle East. This assessment draws on regional case studies, and is further substantiated by insights from interviews with key players in the region.
Main findings of the report include:
• 2014 and beyond is an exciting time for those with an interest in the digital services landscape in the Middle East. Appetite for social media and consumer goods market (CGM) relating to news and current affairs is unique to the region, and emerging niches such as religious digital services present opportunities for regional entrepreneurs.
• Other services including e-commerce and key elements of the digital ecosystem such as digital advertising are well established internationally, but have so far lacked the stimuli or the supporting infrastructure to mirror such success in the region.
• Certain categories which typically feature in a more mature market, such as rights and royalties management and digital services skills and recruitment, have limited presence in today’s market. It is expected that these categories will rapidly follow international trends and become well established over the next 5 years.
• Services including government services and TV, radio and music have significant growth potential, but will require investment and/or a substantial customer base in order to succeed. Established organizations offering ‘adjacent’ services (e.g. TV broadcasters) may have the appetite for joint ventures to stimulate the market or provide a platform for their own expansion.
“We anticipate that the digital services landscape will grow at pace in the Middle East over the next three to five years, in some areas following global trends and in others carving out a unique path for the region. This will provide interest for global, regional and local players and stakeholders alike,” concluded Saguto. – TradeArabia News Service