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Best Video Streaming Services In The Middle East

Whether you need something to watch while having breakfast, or an escape during the weekend, these are the best video streaming services in the Middle East.

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best video streaming services in the middle east

Are you tired of scrolling through a never-ending list of video streaming options with lackluster regional content or nonexistent availability in your location? Look no further because we’ve done the legwork for you and rounded up the best video streaming services in the Middle East. With them, you’ll be able to say goodbye to malware-ridden illegal streaming sites and hello to endless hours of quality entertainment.

Top 5 Most Popular Video Streaming Services In MENA

Subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are attracting new subscribers at a rapid pace. By 2027, revenues from SVoD services are expected to reach a total of $4 billion, and the following players collectively share the biggest slice of the pie.

#1- Netflix

netflix

🍿 Number of subscribers in the MENA region: 7.5 million

With its more than 200 million global subscribers and worldwide availability, it’s no surprise that Netflix is the most popular video streaming service in MENA. When it launched in 2007, it single-handedly disrupted the stale movie rental industry by offering a much more convenient alternative powered by the internet.

Today, Netflix offers a wide variety of content to its MENA subscribers, including movies, TV shows, documentaries, and original programming that you won’t wind anywhere else, such as Wednesday, BoJack Horseman, The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown, The Umbrella Academy, Stranger Things, or The Witcher.

The least expensive Netflix plan costs AED 29 in the United Arab Emirates, and it lets you watch on up to one screen at a time. To consume content on more screens simultaneously, and enjoy better video quality, you can upgrade to two more expensive plans (AED 39 for two screens and AED 56 for four screens).

#2- Starzplay Arabia

starzplay arabia

🍿 Number of subscribers in the MENA region: 2.1 million

Owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation, Starzplay Arabia is the second most popular video streaming service in the Middle East. The service has a strong focus on Arabic content and offers a wide selection of Arabic films and TV shows, such as Shams Al Shita and Ikhtifaa, but there’s also no shortage of Western movies and TV shows.

Sports fans can enjoy exclusive access to all 380 matches of the Italian league, Serie A, live with Arabic and English commentary, watch live cricket matches, and enjoy many more major international sports events. Starzplay Arabia costs AED 40 a month.

#3- Amazon Prime Video

amazon prime video

🍿 Number of subscribers in the MENA region: 2 million

Amazon’s video streaming service is gaining a lot of popularity in the MENA region, and it’s easy to see why. The service is offered as part of Amazon Prime, a paid subscription service that includes Amazon Prime Video, a subscription video-on-demand over-the-top streaming and rental service, as well as free shipping, exclusive shopping deals, and free video games, among other things.

It costs AED 140 a year or AED 16 a month to become a Prime member, and around 2 million people in the MENA region have already decided to sign up. Prime members can watch original shows like The Grand Tour, The Expanse, Homecoming, or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and there’s plenty of third-party content as well.

#4- Disney+

disney plus

🍿 Number of subscribers in the MENA region: 1.1 million

Disney+ launched in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE, and Yemen only last year, and it already has more than 1 million subscribers. The service provides access to an extensive library of classic Disney films, beloved movies from Pixar and Marvel, the entire Star Wars saga, educational programming from National Geographic, and more.

In the United Arab Emirates, Disney+ costs AED 29.99 a month or AED 298.99 a year. All subscribers can watch on up to four devices at the same time and download an unlimited number of TV shows or movies on up to 10 devices. Robust parental controls are available to help parents ensure their kids can see only age-appropriate content.

#5- MBC Shahid

mbc shahid

🍿 Number of subscribers in the MENA region: 1 million

Shahid is a streaming service run by Saudi media conglomerate MBC Group. The service focuses on Arabic content, offering plenty of Arabic movies and TV shows to keep you entertained for a long time, including Confession, Stiletto, Fareed, Heera, and Brando El Sharq.

There are three paid subscription plans you can choose from: VIP (EUR 7.99), VIP | Sports (EUR 12.99), and Ultimate (EUR 15.49). All three plans include Shahid Originals, exclusive series and movie premieres, live TV channels, and Roshn Saudi League, but only the Ultimate plan adds live events, concerts, and more from Riyadh and Jeddah Season.

Other Popular Video Streaming Services In The Middle East

While the big players like Netflix, Starz Play, and Amazon Prime Video dominate the scene, there are plenty of other video streaming services that are worth checking out in the MENA region.

OSN Plus (OSN+)

Headquarters in Dubai, Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) is a multinational entertainment company and the creator of OSN+, a popular SVOD service in the MENA region. Thanks to long-standing partnerships with the likes of HBO, Paramount, and NBC Universal, OSN+ boasts one of the most impressive content libraries out of all services recommended in this article. Besides Hollywood blockbusters, you can also watch exclusive Arabic and Turkish series that are not available anywhere else. Thanks to a free 7-day trial, you can test what OSN+ has to offer without any risk.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is a great choice for those who are already entrenched in the Apple ecosystem. The service is optimized for Apple devices, but it also works great on smart TVs, consoles, or sticks. Apple TV+ has made a name for itself with its award-winning TV show Ted Lasso, which was released in 2020, and the number of highly rated Apple Originals has expanded significantly since then.

Eros Now

No, Eros Now isn’t an adult website. It’s an Indian subscription service that offers more than 12,000 digital titles, including movies, television shows, and music videos. The service is home to some of the most popular Indian blockbuster movies ever made, including Cheeni Kum, Happy Bhag Jayegi, Manmarziyaan, and others. Since 2018, Eros Now has been premiering its own original programs, including short-form video content called Eros Now Quickie.

SonyLIV

SonyLIV is a streaming service that offers a wide range of Indian movies, TV shows, and live sports events. It is a great option for viewers in the Middle East who are fans of Indian cinema and want to stay up-to-date with the latest Bollywood releases. The service is owned by Culver Max Entertainment, an Indian media conglomerate whose parent company is Sony Pictures.

BeIN Connect

BeIN Connect is a video streaming service geared toward sports fans. The service is owned and operated by the Qatari media group beIN, and it has recently provided coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2022. In addition to international football, cricket, and other sports events, BeIN Connect can also offer a decent variety of movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, the mobile app has a lot of bugs, and the overall user experience could definitely be improved.

iQiyi

iQiyi is a Chinese online video platform based in Beijing and Shanghai. It launched in 2010 and has since then gained more than 100 million VIP subscribers. iQiyi can be recommended to all Middle Easterners who like Asian entertainment, including Chinese, Korean, and Thai dramas, Japanese anime, and popular variety shows. The service provides its own original programming, with new titles coming every week.

Conclusion

So there you have it β€” the best video streaming services in the Middle East. From Netflix’s American hit shows to Starz Play’s Arabic dramas to Disney+’s family-friendly content and much more, the world of subscription video-on-demand services in the Middle East and North Africa region has something for everyone. But don’t just take our word for it; give these streaming services a try to see which of them can satisfy your viewing needs and desires the best. Happy streaming!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Elias El Hajj

    February 23, 2024 at 4:23 PM

    You need to get your info straight. Shahid has more than 9 million subscriber in the MENA region. You also discarded other OTTs that has a big footprint in the region.

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Top Free AI Chatbots Available In The Middle East

Discover the best free AI chatbots that are currently available to users in the Middle East so that you can experience the world-changing technology.

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top free ai chatbots available in the middle east

Large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT are taking the world by storm, offering (mostly) accurate answers to a vast range of questions. While many of these cutting-edge AI models are developed by Western companies and trained predominantly on English data, their applications extend far beyond the English-speaking world.

We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the top free AI chatbots available in the Middle East. Whether you’re looking for a personal assistant to help you manage your daily tasks or a customer service chatbot to improve your business operations, we’ve got you covered.

#1- ChatGPT

chatgpt ai interface

🌍 Availability: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Yes
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Yes

Developed by OpenAI, one of the most talked-about companies in the world today, ChatGPT has brought the transformative power of large language models to the masses since its release in November 2022. Even though it’s not OpenAI’s first chatbot, ChatGPT has captured the imagination of users worldwide with its ability to engage in natural language conversations and assist with a wide range of tasks.

Even in its free version, ChatGPT offers plenty of capabilities for users to enjoy, including full access to GPT-3.5 and limited access to GPT-4o, OpenAI’s latest and most advanced multilingual, multimodal model. At the time of writing this article, GPT-4o is the best-rated model in existence, so the fact that you can use it for free for a limited number of times within a three-hour window is pretty amazing.

Earlier this year, OpenAI introduced voice chat capabilities to free users, meaning if you’ve ever wanted to interact with an AI using voice commands, now you can do so without any cost. Voice interactions with ChatGPT offer a more intuitive and natural way of communication, bridging the gap between human and machine interaction, and then come in handy when driving, cooking, and doing other activities that make it inconvenient or impossible to type.

Pros:

  • The best-rated AI chatbot today
  • Can provide accurate and helpful responses to a wide range of questions
  • Free access to a robust set of features
  • It’s easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Usage limits

#2- Mistral AI

mistral ai interface

🌍 Availability: Everywhere
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Yes
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Yes

Founded in April 2023 by a team of former employees from Meta Platforms and Google DeepMind, Mistral AI has quickly positioned itself as a significant player in the realm of artificial intelligence. As a French company dedicated to democratizing AI technology, Mistral AI focuses on developing open-source large language models accessible through its web-based chat interface.

The models vary in scale and specialization β€” from heavy-duty processing with the Large model, known for its top reasoning capacities, to the Small model, designed for fast and cost-effective interactions. They also offer Codestral, tailored specifically for coding purposes, and Next, a prototype model trained for conciseness and efficiency.

Mistral AI currently doesn’t offer any paid tier, which means that free users have access to everything the company offers. Usage limits do exist, but they are dynamically adjusted based on demand, so you may not even hit them.

Pros:

  • Access to a range of large language models
  • No paid tier, so free users have access to everything
  • It’s easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Usage limits
  • Relatively new player in the AI market

#3- Google Gemini

google gemini ai interface

🌍 Availability: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Yes
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Yes

Previously known as Bard, Google Gemini is a powerful large language model developed by Google AI. With the free version of Google Gemini, users have access to the 1.0 Pro model, which integrates seamlessly with Google apps that you already know and use, such as Gmail, Calendar, and Docs. This makes it an excellent choice for those who rely heavily on Google products for their daily tasks.

However, compared with GPT-4o and Mistral’s Large model, the free version of Gemini is much worse at following instructions closely. On the other hand, Gemini offers a significant advantage in terms of speed. Additionally, Google doesn’t seem to be actively enforcing usage limits on the free tier, so you can use it as much as you want without worrying about hitting a usage cap.

Pros:

  • Integrates with Google apps
  • Fast and no real usage limits
  • It’s easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Doesn’t follow detailed instructions well

#4- Claude

claude ai interface

🌍 Availability: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Yes
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Yes

Claude is a family of AI models developed by Anthropic PBC, a US-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup company founded in 2021. The company’s mission is to research and develop AI technology that benefits the public. Anthropic was founded by former members of OpenAI, Daniela Amodei and Dario Amodei, and has since made a name for itself in the AI community.

Free Claude users can access the Sonnet model, which is designed for natural language processing tasks such as text generation, translation, and summarization. Sonnet comes with a daily messaging limit that’s dynamically adjusted based on demand and reset every morning. Unfortunately, the limit can be quite unpredictable in practice, allowing you to chat extensively one day and then stopping you after a few messages the next one.

Pros:

  • Free access to the Sonnet model
  • Daily message limit is dynamically adjusted based on demand
  • It’s easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Unpredictable daily limit

#5- Local LLMs

local llms ai interface

🌍 Availability: Everywhere
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Depends on which model you choose
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Depends on which model you choose

Local LLMs are a breed apart from the cloud-based solutions we’ve discussed so far. Instead of relying on powerful remote servers, these models run entirely on your own computer hardware. Examples include Llama 3, Phi 3, and Gemma.

One of the biggest advantages of local LLMs is that they are uncensored. Another advantage of local LLMs is that they can be customized to your specific needs. For example, you can fine-tune the model on your own data, allowing it to better understand and generate responses that are specific to your industry or use case.

However, there are also some downsides to using local LLMs. The biggest challenge is that they can be more difficult to set up and maintain than cloud-based AI chatbots. You’ll need to have the right hardware and software, such as Ollama or LM Studio, to run the model, and the performance of your hardware directly influences the performance you can expect.

Pros:

  • Complete control and customization
  • Uncensored and unrestricted by content limitations
  • Arabic-specific models available

Cons:

  • More difficult to set up
  • Performance depends on how powerful hardware you have
  • Can’t match leading cloud-based models

Conclusion

The Middle East region has access to some of the best free AI chatbots available in the market. From ChatGPT’s natural language processing capabilities and Mistral AI’s range of large language models to Google Gemini’s integration with Google apps and Claude’s focus on ethical AI, each chatbot has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Local LLMs also offer a viable alternative for those who prefer to have complete control and customization over their AI models. Ultimately, the best AI chatbot for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

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