RIYADH: Regional streaming service STARZPLAY has reported a five-fold increase in its number of monthly subscribers, driven by the addition of new sports content.
The average revenue per user also increased by 30 percent as users subscribed to more sports packages, particularly the Premier Sports League and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
The sporting leagues created an influx of organic demand, the company said, leading to a 41 percent reduction in the cost of acquiring subscriptions.
Overall, the platform reported a 479 percent increase in subscriptions from the same time last year and a 161 percent increase from its highest growth period, which was during the 2020 lockdown.
Maaz Sheikh, CEO, STARZPLAY, said in a statement: “Live sports have the power to bring people together. We saw an untapped opportunity to invest in live sports, which has tremendously benefitted our business as well as helped transform the OTT landscape.”
STARZPLAY launched the first live sports channel in 2021. “The sports category on our platform has witnessed stupendous growth, which is a testament to the growing demand for exclusive and live sports content,” Sheikh added.
The CEO said: “In fact, for the first time ever in the region, a streaming platform hosted the power-packed ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. The league has been a huge success with STARZPLAY, breaking records of the last six years for the number of single-day signups, revenue and concurrent users.”
The company recorded the highest growth in the UAE, which is its largest market, followed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Cricket was the most popular sporting event — particularly the ICC T20 event — with a 49 percent increase in the volume of subscriptions in Saudi Arabia in October 2021 compared to the pre-cricket monthly average in the same period last year.
One of the main factors when launching the cricket add-on package was the price point, said Sheikh. “We wanted to make content easily available to our subscribers and at affordable prices. This was further customized to offer convenience to customers in the form of daily, weekly and monthly passes for Cricket World Cup.”
The number of illegal apps and streaming sites rose during the event, however, resulting in significant losses for licensed players.
Sheikh said: “As the leading player in the industry, we feel it’s imperative to highlight the concerns surrounding piracy to mitigate the overall impact on the industry’s revenue.”