Get with the “program” Amazon, Apple and Hulu

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Get with the “program” Amazon, Apple and Hulu

Netflix (and Chill) winning the streaming TV war in the Middle East




“They always stop ‘House of Cards’ at the most critical moments", “God! why does it take so long to give us only 10 or 13 episodes of such an amazing show” “I watched the entire season over the weekend”, “I’m waiting until its all over to binge watch the whole thing back to back”.

That’s an example of some background conversation you would be hearing in a discussion somewhere over a Jeddah dinner or in a Dubai bar. These is demand for series and it is only getting stronger. So how does the typical, western educated, open minded Arab millennial satisfy this demand? It’s usually one of 3 things

  1. Trick the system; Activate their US Apple account with their fake address and iTunes cards being bought at a 20% premium from vendors all over the country or use a VPN to connect their international accounts to gain access to US shows
  2. Piracy; Buy fake DVD’s from the guy walking suspiciously towards you with a stack that includes the latest “Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation” DVD or Downloading it through Popcorn Time or a torrent with many questionable legalities at play
  3. Give in to circumstances; They watch whatever is available on the MENA equivalent of cable tv, mostly OSN (Orbit Showtime Network, who are really not doing too bad), while some programs are very up to date, they limit you to the programs available.

None of the above is hardly ideal for today’s impatient young viewers. Even if they were “patient”, social media is just going to spoil the murder of King Joffrey during the Purple Wedding (oops!) when someone posts the photo pf bleeding nose (I almost lost two friends because of that).

Broadband speed and the virtual world cannot hold back the people forever; when there is a will there is a way, and nothing will get in the way of person determined to find out what happened to Pablo Escobar’s political career after being exposed by an honest minister.

Netflix understood the game early; with its global roll out to include countries from all over the world, its getting the lion’s share of the emerging markets and the rest of the world. While online payment methods are becoming more accessible and easy, satisfying the “need” to stay up-to-date with the latest happening and leading TV series conversations over dinners is becoming easier. While many legal elements and contracts are involved in the process, the consumer doesn’t want to know (and doesn't really care) about them because one way or another, they will watch their show! So let’s do it legally at a small cost.

After I subscribed to Amazon Prime to get the discounts and deals for my Kindle, I got offered “Movies Included with my Prime Account at No Additional Cost” of which I couldn’t watch due to my geographic location. Now that doesn’t bother me so much, until it was announced the Jeremy Clarkson along with his 2 cohosts, Hammond and May are going to air their new program on Amazon Video, now, we might have a little problem. Why should fans from the world’s most popular TV program ever be deprived from enjoying its rebirth  after one of most intense media wars just because of rights? It will not be stopped and I will find a way to enjoy that show’s debut. By no means am I encouraging illegal download of content, I believe that these companies spent a lot of money to bring us top notch entertainment, but I will manage to find a way and watch it…

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So Hulu, Amazon Video, Apple TV, get your acts together and get with the program, viewers are watching the shows anyway, get a piece of the cake instead of getting stuck with too much red tape and legal issues while Netflix enjoys cake and the icing. -

Amro Abbas Photo Amro Abbas is the founder and head of strategy and development at Polar|Cloud marketing consultancy. As a successful entrepreneur, Amro has founded several businesses including: Polar|Art virtual gallery, Call Restoration service, Digin Grooming and Polar|Media.

An art enthusiast, media  junkie, marketing addict, tech obsessed and serial entrepreneur, Amro continues to work on numerous ventures on a wide range of sectors. He is committed to sharing his expertise in online promotions to help business owners grow their respective businesses and inspire others to succeed. Amro holds an MBA from London Business School and is married to a lovely wife and father to one beautiful (and extremely cute!) daughter.

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