Video kills the radio star as more in Saudi Arabia, UAE turn to streaming

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones performs during a 2014 concert in Abu Dhabi. More people are turning toward streaming of music and video content in the UAE and Saudi as radio stations come under pressure according to a new survey. (Reuters)
Updated 10 January 2018

Video kills the radio star as more in Saudi Arabia, UAE turn to streaming

LONDON: An increasing number of listeners in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are turning off their radios and logging on to stream their music and videos instead, according to a new YouGov Omnibus survey.
Almost a third of those surveyed said they have increased the frequency with which they listen to music via online streaming services compared to 12 months ago.
The shift to online is placing pressure on conventional radio stations to “diversify to maintain consumer engagement in future,” said Kerry McLaren, head of Omnibus Research, in a statement.
A third of consumers in Saudi Arabia claimed to listen to the radio less than they did 12 months ago, while 28 percent of UAE listeners said they were tuning in less, according to the survey.
“Kids still listen to radio when in the car. Other than that we mostly stream content (podcasts, audiobooks, videos, music),” one Abu Dhabi-based dad tweeted Arab News.
Dubai-based blogger Hind Mezaina told Arab News she preferred to stream content because the English-speaking radio stations in the UAE lacked diversity.
“I’d like to listen to the radio but it’s the same old music and the five new songs on all channels. DJs that are mostly white and pretend only white people live here/listen to them,” she said, adding that topics being discussed are often “dumbed down.”
Satish Mayya, CEO at the Dubai-based media buyer BPG Maxus, said that radio stations are already rising to meet the challenge of increased streaming activity.
“Big radio networks had already started developing their own online streaming platforms in an effort to capture migrating audience,” he said, adding that the trend has yet to dramatically affect advertising strategies.
“Radio is still widely used by brands across categories for tactical and promotional campaigns and even sometimes to support new launches,” he said.
Raed Zidan, co-owner of Shock Middle East which owns the UAE’s first dance music station Dance FM 97.8, is also optimistic about the future of radio in the UAE.
“The UAE has one of the highest listenerships in the world as people spend more time than the average compared to other countries in their cars.
“Typically where radio compete against streaming is by offering shows like Breakfast and Drive as people head and come back from their work, those shows are typically entertaining and offer lots of information about what's going on in the city and the country they live in,” he said.
The YouGov survey also found that a third of those surveyed said they were streaming more video content than they did a year before. Around 29 percent across both countries said they watched videos on platforms that did not require payment or a subscription.
Demand for streamed movie content is growing rapidly in Saudi Arabia. The subscriber base of Star Playz, a streaming site, has been doubling every six months since it launched two and a half years ago in the Kingdom, according to co-founder Danny Bates.
“Our highest content consumption rates per month are coming from Saudi customers,” he told Arab News last month. He added that action and comedy were the most popular genres among subscribers in the Kingdom.


Qatar’s BeIN chairman, two others indicted in bribery case

Updated 20 February 2020

Qatar’s BeIN chairman, two others indicted in bribery case

  • Former FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke charged with accepting bribes, among others
  • Al-Khelaifi charged with inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement

GENEVA: Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was charged Thursday by Swiss federal prosecutors in connection with a wider bribery investigation linked to World Cup television rights.

The office of Switzerland’s attorney general filed an indictment charging Al-Khelaifi with inciting former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke “to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.”

The Qatari football and television executive, however, no longer faces an accusation of bribery. Following a three-year investigation, FIFA reached an “amicable agreement” with Al-Khelaifi last month, prosecutors said, to drop its criminal complaint relating to the awarding of 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights to Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports.

Al-Khelaifi is the head of Doha-based BeIN Sports and also a member of the UEFA executive committee.

Al-Khelaifi was indicted for his alleged part in providing Valcke — who had influence over the awarding of World Cup rights until being removed from office in 2015 — with use of a luxury villa in Sardinia without paying rent valued at up to €1.8 million ($1.94 million).

Valcke was charged with accepting bribes, “several counts of aggravated criminal mismanagement … and falsification of documents.”

For the first time in the five-year investigation of FIFA business, Swiss prosecutors revealed that they believe Valcke received kickbacks totaling €1.25 million to steer World Cup rights toward favored broadcasters in Italy and Greece.

A third person who was not identified was charged with bribery over those payments and also for inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Al-Khelaifi was appointed to the UEFA executive committee, representing European football clubs, one year ago despite being implicated in the bribery case. He is also an influential board member of the European Club Association, which is seeking to drive reforms in the Champions League to favor elite clubs such as French champion PSG.

He denied wrongdoing after being questioned in 2017 and 2019 in connection with criminal proceedings opened three years ago.

Al-Khelaifi has also been implicated in a separate corruption investigation by French prosecutors that is linked to Qatar seeking hosting rights for the track and field world championships. Doha hosted the 2019 edition.