Almost 1100 TV channels occupy the Arab sky, the «Arab Satellite Brodcasting Report 2020» says
The "Annual Report on Arab satellite broadcasting," is a report issued every year by the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU). The Report version for 2020 provides updated statistical data on the satellite broadcasting industry in the Arab region, classifies channel categories according to their programming, language of broadcasting, geographic coverage, specialization and public, group or private ownership.
The report also provides a critical reading of new trends and developments of the sector and attempts to understand the phenomenon of satellite channels proliferation and its implications.
In the early nineties of the last century, the number of Arab satellite channels (both public and private) was limited to no more than a handfull of channels The current boom has been brought about mostly thanks to the private sector.
According to the most recent report on Arab satellite broadcasting for the year 2020, the number of satellite channels broadcast or re-broadcast by Arab corporations reached a total of 1093 channels.
Various factors have helped the proliferation of channels, such as the growing role of the private sector, technological developments and digital satellite broadcasting that offered unlimited opportunities, low cost access and wide prospects for development.
The number of Arab corporations broadcasting or re- broadcasting satellite channels stands at 647, including 24 publicly owned ones. and 623 owned by the private sector. A few hundred other channels are individually run by private investors. They all broadcast or re- broadcast 1093 television channels (177 public and 907 private channels) in multiple languages and a variety of specialties. The rise recorded in the number of public channels is mostly attributed to the return of Libyan television channels to broadcast after having disappeared for a few years, as well as to the creation of more public specialized channels, especially sports and educational ones.
As for the fields of specialization, we find that 252 channels are generalist in their programming, with no dominating specialty in their content. News and drama lead the trend to adopting one theme content, with 150 and 133 respectively, closely followed by religious channels, which stand at 130 broadcasters. Sports is also widely present in the landscape with 92 channels.
In addition to the growth in numbers of the private sector, the Report also notices an expansion in the geographical coverage of Arab satellite broadcasting, bringing the signal to all points of the globe , including Australia, New Zealand and the Americas.
The Arab region can also monitor and watch international channels targeting its population and mostly using the Arabic language and Arab satellites. They include: BBC Arabic, France 24, Germany's Dutchwelle, the Arabic-speaking channel RAI, Russia Today , CCTV Arabic (China), as well as Turkish, Korean, and other channels.
The report focuses as well on the role of the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) in promoting, supporting and technically assisting satellite broadcasting in the area, through several means and tools, such as a dedicated news and program exchanges system of three components—DTV, MENOS and MENOS + and the ASBU-Cloud platform. The Arab Unified Bouquet, Technical assistance, the Training Academy, the sports rights are also detailed in the Report.
Another section reviews how radio and TV broadcasting in the Arab region is organizing its auto-regulation. Eight specialized auto-regulation organizations in eight Arab countries are featured, showing various experiences and various local media landscapes.
Finally, the Report analyzes how Arab satellite broadcasters are reacting to and interacting with the quick developments achieved by the new med