Online subscription video platform StarzPlay has been doubling its revenue and subscription base every six months for the last three years, CEO and co-founder Maaz Sheikh told Arabian Business.
The Dubai-based firm, which launched in 2014, holds 26% of the OTT market share compared to Netflix’s 16% share and ICIFLIX’s 11%, and is ahead in the region in terms of revenue, with 28% market share compared to Netflix’s 21%.
“We hope to maintain this growth rate until at least 2020, because we are still just scratching the surface. This has only just begun. A lot of growth is yet to come,” said Sheikh.
StarzPlay operates across the MENA region, where its strongest market remains the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, where the firm sees long term growth and opportunity.
Executing its services from country to country has been its biggest challenge, however, as markets differ in terms of content preference and other factors.
“We are in a region where there are multiple sectors, so the profiles of our customers in the UAE in terms of ethnicity, age and content preferences, are very different from those of our customers in Egypt. So while from the outside, it appears as though you are dealing with 400 million people in MENA, in reality each country and market is very different from the other,” said Sheikh.
He added that the service will launch in Pakistan this year, though there are no plans to further expand beyond MENA.
“We’re not looking to expand being MENA, not because we are not expanding, but because we are expanding deeper into MENA. So for example, we just announced a partnership in Saudi where you could walk into any Extra retail outlet in any city in Saudi and subscribe to StarzPlay and pay in cash,” he said.