Fox launches TV streaming service in MENA

Fox Networks is launching a new TV streaming service in the Middle East and North Africa. In a statement, Fox is said to be partnering with the region’s biggest broadcaster, MBC, to bring Fox Plus to viewers.

The streaming service which is already in southeast Asia and in some parts of Latin Americas will not be available in 24 countries on MBC’s Shahid Plus platform.

Subscribers will pay $4.99 per month to have access to six categories of English language entertainment from Fox Plus, including drama, kids TV and National Geographic channel.

MBC will add thousands of hours of streaming content to its existing platform.

“Streaming is going to be a major disruptor of consumption of content,” said Sanjay Raina, general manager at Fox Networks Group.” It’s very important as a content company to have a foot in the door into that world.”

Raina said better broadband capabilities in the region has helped streaming services grow, but payment systems remain a challenge. Credit card use in some parts is still “near zero,” he told CNN Business.

Online video subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa only surpassed one million last year. They are forecast to grow 34% per year to reach 5 million by 2022, according to IHS Markit.

“New services are coming up everyday. We have just seen the tip of the iceberg,” Raina said.

The move by Fox comes just over a year after it added 3 new TV channels to its existing line up, including the first Fox-branded channel to broadcast in Arabic.

“Linear television platforms need to reinvent themselves, because a young consumer today has a choice, on mobile, on laptop, anywhere,” Raina said.