Watching Films on the Internet and Disc (DVD, BluRay, etc.)

The internet is a very important medium for watching films among those who are online. Three-quarters of internet users watch films on the internet, and four in ten do so at least once a week (42%). Watching films online is more frequent among internet users in Saudi Arabia (63% do so at least once a week), Tunisia (57%) and Egypt (51%) than elsewhere in the region.

Of internet users, those under 25 are much more likely than those 45 or older to watch films on the internet at least weekly (51% vs. 30%, respectively), and men are somewhat more likely to watch films online weekly or more than women (45% vs. 38%, respectively). Nationality, income, and education have relatively little effect on the likelihood of watching films on the internet.

Those who watch films on the internet are twice as likely to stream films online as they are to download films to a device, and about one-third say they would be likely to pay to stream or download films. An equal one-third would be likely to pay to download video games and sporting events, but fewer would pay to download music or television shows. Internet users in Saudi Arabia and in the UAE are far more likely to say they would pay to watch films online (61% and 41%). By comparison, about one in five in the other countries would pay to stream or download films.

Viewing films on disc (DVD, BluRay, etc.) is not as popular as television or online viewing, but it is still a common practice. About half of those surveyed watch films on disc at all, but less than a quarter do so at least once a week (22%). Watching films on disc is much more common in Saudi Arabia than in the other five countries surveyed, perhaps in response to a lack of cinemas in the country. In fact, nearly half of Saudi residents watch films on disc at least weekly (44%), much more than any other country.

Younger people are more frequent users of DVDs and other discs. Two-thirds of those under 25 watch films on disc, while two-thirds of those 45 and older never watch films on disc. Income and education levels also affect film-viewing on disc. Six in ten of those in the highest income quartile watch film on disc compared with four in ten in the lowest quartile. Two-thirds of those with university degrees watch films on disc, compared with eight in ten of those with a primary education or less who never do so.

Nationals of all six countries, as well as Arab expats, are far less likely than others to watch films on disc – they are nearly twice as likely never to watch them as are Asian and Western expats. This may be because the films that Asian and Western expats prefer to watch cannot be found on television, and discs offer an alternative means to access them. (Specifically, 81% of Western expats watch films on disc, compared with 72% of Asian expats, 58% of Arab expats, and 47% of nationals.)

While three-quarters of internet users watch films online, fewer than half assign importance to using the internet for this purpose, compared with two-thirds who say watching films on TV is important for entertainment (45% vs. 66%). Watching films on disc is considered a less important source of entertainment – only 28% attach importance to using discs as a source of entertainment.