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FTA channels see surge across Arab countries

The number of free-to-air (FTA) satellite TV channels in the Arab world increased by 19.3 percent, reaching 642 channels by the end of the first quarter of 2012, compared with 538 channels in the same period last year, reports.

According to a report released by Arab Advisers Group’s Media Strategic Research Service, titled Satellite TV in the Arab World 2012, the number of fully launched and operational channels reached 565 by the end of last March, up from 501 in March 2011, with the majority being privately owned.

The FTA satellite TV channels targeting Arab countries continued to grow, increasing by 542 percent between January 2004 and March 2012.

Privately owned channels stood at 75percent of total operating channels due to the liberalisation of the audio-visual sectors in the region.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates host the highest number of TV channels in the Arab world. Egypt hosts 21.6 percent of the total FTA satellite TV channels, while Saudi Arabia hosts 14 percent.