Samsung enters video-on-demand segment in Mena with Arabic content

The South Korean technology giant will work with three ­regional providers

Viewers can access the exclusive content of Shahid, Starz Play and Weyyak through Samsung SmartPack. Courtesy: Samsung
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Samsung is making a foray into video-on-demand services in the Mena region, entering into direct competition with Netflix in the nascent Arabic content streaming segment.

The South Korean technology giant will work with three ­regional video-on-demand providers: MBC Shahid, Starz Play and Weyyak, which already have a following in the region.

The offering is aimed to provide “wide-ranging content in line with our vision to devise innovative solutions to meet the expectations and needs of our customers”, said Sungwan Myung, president of Samsung Electronics Mena.

Customers will be able to access the new SmartPack when they purchase select Samsung televisions.

Video-on-demand platform has taken off in the region with revenue amount, totalling $523 million (Dh1.92 billion) in 2018 – a 21 per cent year-on-year increase, according to data from research firm Statista with about 33 million subscribers in 2018.

“This partnership … is a continuation of our efforts to provide our users with award-winning premium content on bigger screens to enrich the users’ experience,” said Ahmed Qandil, head of digital products at MBC Group.

The network's Shahid service offers the world's biggest library of Arabic content, including MBC's own shows, such as Project Runway Arabia and The Voice Arabia, as well as dubbed or subtitled foreign content from British TV such as Top Gear, Turkish soaps and Korean romantic comedies.


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The SmartPack feature will be further expanded with Samsung launching the world’s first 8K TV next year, which has 16 times more pixels than a full high-definition TV.

Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service, is also trying to increase its regional market share in the Arab world.

Earlier this year, the company announced Jinn, its first Arabic original series.