Intigral CEO Hamoud Al Rumayan explains how his company is changing viewing habits in Saudi Arabia, while supporting the kingdom’s vision for the future.
What’s the vision of Intigral to enrich the entertainment industry?
Intigral emerged as a regional pioneer offering world-class digital media services and OTT entertainment, aiming to support and drive innovation in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The company seeks to present exclusive digital content and unique products that position it as the number one choice for digital entertainment, sports content and various digital services.
Intigral offers an exceptional experience for the digital entertainment generation through Dawri Plus and Jawwy TV. These products offer friendly user experiences and unique digital content, available via the various channels and catering to a large segment of progressive users who are looking for an enriching and unique entertainment content accessible with maximum convenience.
How does Intigral follow the strategic objectives of Saudi Vision 2030?
As people increasingly expect to access content on the go and on any device, Intigral is positioned to play a pivotal role in satisfying the growing regional demand for convenient, on-demand entertainment.
Intigral clearly sees itself as a major contributor to the entertainment industry’s development by stepping into the production game and producing hyper-local and relevant content. We aim to support local talent by creating new opportunities for artists and for the industry in Saudi Arabia.
By supporting the growth of the entertainment sector – a main pillar of Vision 2030, which will ultimately contribute towards building a knowledge-based economy – we see ourselves as a leader in achieving national transformation.
Furthermore, Intigral contributes to the Kingdom’s Quality of Life 2020 program by presenting a multitude of digital entertainment services that enhance people’s quality of life and promote the kingdom’s position as an industry leader. This not only helps create new jobs in the industry but supports the career development of Saudi youth by giving them numerous employment opportunities.
How does the partnership between STC and Intigral work?
Intigral operates as a fully autonomous but wholly-owned subsidiary of STC. Our mandate is to build the best product and include the best local and international content that the region has to offer. We work closely with STC to leverage insights into customer behaviors that help us understand the type of content people most enjoy, along with how and when they like to view that content. The synergies between the two businesses allow both Intigral as an entertainment business, and STC as a delivery network, to create solutions in ways that others are not able to replicate.
Our collective objective is to build a product that offers our customers the best entertainment experience. We believe in building solutions that give customers what they want where and when they want it. Digital entertainment uniquely offers that possibility, and the synergies between STC and Intigral give us a true competitive advantage in that space.
Intigral supports STC by helping it identify and select the appropriate target client segment. It also enriches its services by presenting high-quality digital products and live rich-media broadcast technologies. Moreover, Intigral supports STC’s pioneering role in developing and promoting digital entertainment services.
Additionally, Intigral presents OTT solutions with outstanding creative content, design and innovative technical integration in the form of next-generation digital solutions. Among its products are the Dawri Plus and Jawwy TV mobile applications and home receivers. Dawri Plus is an advanced digital sports experience tailored to Saudi and Arab football enthusiasts; while Jawwy TV presents viewers with live broadcast and on-demand TV programs on top of a selection of exclusive and noteworthy local content.
What opportunities and challenges do you see for OTT players in the regional market?
According to the latest edition of the Middle East and North Africa OTT TV and Video Forecasts report, the number of OTT subscribers in the MENA region reached 4.5 million in 2018. By 2024, regional revenues for OTT and video-on-demand services are expected to reach $2.13 billion. Saudi Arabia, in particular, is expected to nearly quadruple its revenues to reach $402 million. At the same time, there are 11.87 million SVOD subscriptions forecasted throughout 13 Arab-speaking countries – nearly triple compared to 4.13 million recorded at end-2018.
These numbers present a massive opportunity for growth, as well as a major challenge amidst a highly-competitive sector. Users are seeking services that provide the best array of features combined with the richest selection of content. Intigral keeps its users at the heart of its strategy by presenting highly-accessible services that are user-friendly and rich in customizable features surpassing traditional live-streaming.
On the other hand, competition is fierce with new players entering the market while large Western companies expand internationally. At the same time, piracy is a major concern with content widely available and now being presented in increasingly more accessible ways.
High-quality original content is also a key factor for success in this industry. By delving into the production scene, Intigral seeks to lead with exclusive shows that entertain viewers across the region. Intigral has recently begun streaming its first original production: Galabt Jad, a Saudi action-comedy series produced and directed by a team of skilled young Saudi professionals; it is considered as one of the most distinguished Saudi productions.
How do you address security issues, in particular regarding cloud technology?
We have various controls to secure our cloud platform. That includes encryption of all content; web application firewalls; regular vulnerability assessment & penetration testing (VAPT) on the cloud platform and web applications, role-based access control and more.
What do users expect in terms of OTT offering in general, and from Dawri Plus in particular?
We live in era of ever-increasing expectations, where innovations are quickly adopted and become expected. Staying in front requires constant innovation and careful planning. Users in the digital landscape continually seek more immersive experiences, linking what they are viewing with social media platforms as well as expecting better predictive algorithms to support content discovery. With JawwyTV and Dawry Plus, we aim to offer a more engaging experience, with thousands of hours of content accessible in extremely convenient ways on a multitude of devices.
In Dawry Plus in particular, we want to virtualize the way fans engage with sport, offering more ways to share with friends their favorite moments, giving them the ability to share opinions and engage in the game in ways that haven’t been seen before. Real-time player rating and the viewers’ “Man of the Match” awards are examples of the direction that we see Dawri Plus taking. Being able to view the match is a basic requirement. We plan to take it to the next level by offering features that enhance interaction and engagement.