At least one in three people in Saudi Arabia watch 3 to 5 hours of television every day during Ramadan compared to an average of 2.7 hours throughout the rest of the year, according to the latest survey on Ramadan TV viewing habits conducted by OSN, the leading pay-TV network in the Middle East and North Africa.
Underlining the spike in television consumption during Ramadan, 33 percent of respondents said they watch television for 3 to 5 hours daily compared to 18 percent who watch 5 to 7 hours and 35 percent who watch 1 to 3 hours.
Series are the most popular genre of television during the holy month, with over 50 percent of viewers choosing to watch Egyptian, Syrian, Khaleeji or Turkish dramas while nearly 65 percent stressed the importance of watching the latest series first, before anyone else. The vast majority (85 percent) also said watching their favorite programs in high definition was essential.
Hamad Malik, Chief Marketing Officer, OSN said: “While it is common knowledge that television consumption increases during Ramadan and series are preferred, our survey highlights the increasing demand to watch original content before anyone else and in high definition. This is a strong vote of confidence for OSN and is in line with our strategy to provide the latest movies and series in true HD first and exclusively on our channels.”
Nearly half of those polled in Saudi Arabia stressed on how imperative it was to be able to watch television at their convenience and in being able to create their own personalized TV experience.
“With busy schedules especially during Ramadan, viewers need more control over their TV viewing experience so they can watch what they want, when they want. We understand this, which is why OSN is putting a lot of emphasis on the viewer controlling their entertainment through OSN’s innovative technology and our value added services such as ‘On Demand’ and ‘Ramadan Catch Up’ viewing,” added Malik.
Underlining the market appeal of OSN Play - the region’s first online TV platform - around 40 percent of respondents said they prefer to watch TV on-the-go anytime, anywhere. One in ten respondents said it was very important to have the option to watch their favorite programs online or on smartphones.
On specific and preferred series, over 70 percent of those polled said they look forward keenly to watch Season 3 of Hareem Al Sultan, which is now showing exclusively on OSN Ya Hala!HD at 21:00 KSA. Despite 62 percent stating that they have not watched the first two seasons of the popular series, 41 percent said they would make sure to tune in for the third season.
Further demonstrating the strength of pay-TV networks in offering seamless entertainment, with fewer advertisement breaks, 89 percent of Saudi viewers said they get “very annoyed” when their viewing is interrupted by commercials.
OSN conducted the survey over June and July 2013, interviewing nearly 1,000 TV viewers across the region, with 29 percent in the age group of 35 to 39, and 86 percent of the respondents in the Kingdom being Saudi nationals.
This article was first published on the Saudi Gazette.