Live streaming platforms are embracing mobile payments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Across the world, localizing payment methods is key for streaming platforms that don’t want to alienate potential customers. For example, Netflix has sought to expand the range of alternative payment methods it accepts to include UPI in India and GoPay digital wallet in Indonesia.
In the Middle East and North Africa, a new streaming platform is looking to entice customers in the region by enabling direct carrier billing (DCB) payments, which allow users to collect payments from their carrier bill.
TOD, a new sports and entertainment broadcast platform created by Qatari beIN Media Group, will accept DCB for subscription payments thanks to a partnership with TPAY Mobile.
By incorporating TPAY’s DCB technology, the company expects to expand its services to customers who may not have access to a credit or debit card, targeting the Egyptian market first before expanding to more countries across the MENA region.
And with more and more mobile operators enabling DCB and companies like TPAY Mobile creating single points of contact for businesses that want to make payment easier, streaming services are just one of many subscription-based business models that could benefit from the technology.
Although TOD is not the first streaming service to enable payments through DCB, the company appears to be banking on its mix of payment options along with its library of Arabic and Turkish language content to set itself apart from the competition in the MENA market.
There is definitely a lot of competition.
In recent years, Netflix has been working hard to add more local content to the MENA market, while Disney+ was launched in 16 countries in the region last year. Apart from the big international players, locally focused services like MBC’s Shahid and Starz Play are also strong competitors in the space.
With such an active streaming ecosystem, PWC expects online services revenues to account for 46% of all entertainment and media revenues in 2024, up from 37% in 2019.
Telco and FinTech partnerships
Enabling local payment methods is not the only way regional fintechs are helping streaming platforms enter new markets and increase their customer base.
Over the years, partnering with other providers to bundle streaming services with other subscriptions or to promote free trials has proven to be a successful marketing strategy for digital media platforms.
For example, the Abu Dhabi-based music and podcast streaming platform has been combining alternative payment facilitation and subscription partnerships, and has forged dozens of partnerships with mobile network operators to expand its reach in the MENA region.
Explaining the company’s strategy, Vice President of Business Development Shukri Khairallah stated in a company blog post that “Partnership with mobile operators has been our main focus since our inception as it gives us the opportunity to reach new audiences.”
He pointed out that such arrangements allow Anghami to benefit from the marketing reach of the telecom partner and provide its users with a “convenient way to pay” for access to the live streaming service through packages tailored to each market.
In a twist in the promotional partnership model, Viu, a Hong Kong-based online video streaming service, recently announced a deal with cross-border payments company LuLu Money to help grow its customer base in the MENA region.
Through this collaboration, customers transacting through the LuLu Money app will get up to six months of free subscription to Viu Premium.
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