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Netflix Alternatives for Arabs

Yes, You can stream on many platforms other than Netflix!

 

Netflix Alternatives.

If you reside in the middle east or the Arab world in general, you’ve probably seen this VPN advertisement that shows how small your Netflix library is compared to the US Netflix library.  If this felt unfair and made you start looking for Netflix alternatives, this article will help. In this article, I will show you some Netflix alternatives (free and paid) that can be useful particularly during this quarantine period and during the holy month of Ramadan.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Netflix and there are a lot of pretty good Netflix originals productions on the platform. Yet, it is always good to have choices.

 

Netflix Alternatives at a Glance

If you are not a fan of long posts, here is a summary of Netflix alternatives for residents in Middle East/Arab Countries /GCC. And you can find below a short description for each streaming platform along with the monthly subscription cost.

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1.  OSN Streaming
2.  StarzPlay
3.  Amazon Prime Video
4.  Disney+ (via OSN)

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5.  Apple+ TV
6.  Google Play Movies
7.   M Media
8.   Shahid VIP

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In what follows, is a detailed list of Netflix alternatives for the Middle East/Arab Countries/GCC countries:

 

#1: OSN Streaming

This is my personal favorite Netflix alternative. Streaming the latest Hollywood movies as well as the retro classic movies in all genres.  Series, kids, and Arabic content are all available. Not to mention the WAVO and Disney+ Middle east that are now under OSN Streaming as well. Signing up to OSN Streaming gains you access to 10,000 plus hours of entertainment. You can even go ahead with a 7-days free trial to get a taste of all the rich options. Hot streaming choices from OSN are available on the web today!

After 7-days free trial ends, the monthly subscription fee is SR 35/month for subscribers in Saudi Arabia, which is around $9.50 per month or $89 for 1 year if paid all at once. I highly recommend that you, at least, go for a free trial, you won’t regret it.

 

#2: Starz Play

Since its launch in 2014, StarzPlay has always been a good competitor to Netflix in the Middle East region.  Starz, a Lionsgate company is the lead investor in the Dubai-based Playco Entertainment FZ LLC the company behind StarzPlay. In addition to Lionsgate-sourced content, StarzPlay provides content from big names in the entertainment business such as 20th Century Fox, CBS, Disney, Lionsgate, Paramount, Showtime, Sony, Starz, Universal and Warner Bros. As well as content exclusively developed for MENA region.

The subscription video on demand (SVOD) platform is currently available in 19 countries across the Middle East and North Africa.

The monthly subscription fee in Saudi Arabia is SR 40 is equivalent to $10.67 per month, with 7 days free trial.

 

#3: Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video launched worldwide in 2016 (except for a small number of countries such as Iran, Syria, and North Korea).

Amazon Prime Video has its own productions as well; Amazon Originals, and many consider it to be a Netflix alternative. In a simple comparison, we can find that audio/video user experience is almost the same on both platforms. However, Netflix is a winner when it comes to content and devices compatibility (it is compatible with almost any device: Smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, web, chromecast…you name it), while Amazon Prime Video competes by having a better value for money.

You can try Amazon Prime for a free trial period here and subscribe for AED 16 / month of AED 140 / year and benefit from all other Prime features such as free next-day shipping, expedited international delivery, and Twitch Prime gaming content.

 

#4: Disney+ (via OSN)

Disney+ as a standalone service is not planning to launch in the Arab region in the near future. And that’s is why they teamed up with OSN to bring Disney+ original content to viewers in the Middle East. The content was made available on OSN Streaming on April 9, 2020. And the good news is that you can try it for 7-days for free.

After 7-days free trial ends, the monthly subscription fee is SR 35/month for subscribers in Saudi Arabia, which is around $9.50 per month or $89 dollars for 1 year if paid all at once. I highly recommend that you, at least, go for a free trial, you won’t regret it.

 

#5: Apple TV+ and iTunes Movies

Apple TV+ is a new streaming service from Apple.  And it is still far from being a true competitor to Amazon Prime Video or Netflix. Apple TV+ streams award-winning series, compelling dramas, groundbreaking documentaries, kids’ entertainment, comedies, and more — with new Apple Originals added every month. 
Apple TV+ streaming service is available on the web and App for all apple devices but for best user experience with Apple TV+ streaming, you will need to go for an Apple TV device and connect it to your TV via HDMI. It will also provide you easy access to iTunes TV shows and movie purchases and rentals.
Apple TV+ is available in the following middle eastern countries: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt,  and Oman.
You can subscribe with your existing Apple ID, and the subscription cost is SAR 19.99/month which is around $5 per month.

 

 

#6: Google Play Movies

Google Play Movies application doesn’t follow a Netflix-like subscription model. Instead you can buy or rent movies and series using your Google Play account and watch them on any android device, Chromebook, or chrome browser after downloading the chrome extension.

Google Play movies app is available in the following middle eastern countries: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Cyprus, and Turkey.

 

#7: M Media (Beta)

M Media is a Lebanese streaming platform launched in 2015 featuring a selection of Lebanese and regional content including movies, series, and documentaries. M Media was the first streaming platform to bring Ziad Rahbani famous plays to the cinema in 2015 and later made them available on the platform.

“M” may not be the Netflix alternative you are looking for, and not even a Netflix competitor. However, if you are looking for Lebanese and regional content that you won’t find on Netflix or any other international streaming platform, here it is.

M Media provides a 30-days free trial, and the monthly subscription cost is $5 per month.

 

#8: Shahid VIP

If you are a GCC/Arab world resident and you haven’t heard about MBC’s Shahid and Shahid VIP (formerly Shahid Plus) I’d be surprised. MBC has recently rebranded its video-on-demand platform “Shahid” and it is looking good, I love the new modern-looking brand. Shahid has been there since 2011, providing free streaming Arabic content on its free platform and exclusive ads-free content for paid subscriptions on Shahid VIP.

I can’t remember using the platform before, I have just opened a trial account for the purpose of this blog post and I was actually surprised to find Hollywood content in there. In the past, Shahid wouldn’t be considered as a Netflix alternative or competitor, simply because of its content type. Shahid mainly streams Arabic, Turkish and Korean content that has a big fan base in GCC and other Arab countries. However, Shahid VIP has recently introduced new content from Marvel, ABC Studios, 20th-century fox, and good content for kids from Disney, Pixar, CN, and Nickelodeon under Shahid Junior. As well as live-stream capability for all mbc group channels.

Shahid is available for free, and Shahid VIP subscription cost 6.99/per week (for Zain mobile only), SR 19.99/month, or you can save more on an annual commitment by paying SR 169.99/ per year.

 

And…Youtube

A list of streaming services wouldn’t be complete without YouTube. For many, YouTube is considered a free Netflix alternative. There are a variety of channels on YouTube that provides good quality series for free and for an ads-free experience you can choose paid subscription now.  And while you are there, please subscribe to my channel, I will be launching some interesting videos soon, and the number of subscribers help a lot.

 

Final words on ‘Netflix Alternatives for Arabs’

I currently reside in Saudi Arabia, and if I am going to choose a Netflix alternative, I will definitely go for OSN stream, or even better keep both subscriptions running. What about you?

Finally, I really hope you find this list of Netflix alternatives useful. If you have tried any of these Netflix alternatives (or any other “legal” alternative) in the Middle East / GCC / Arab world, please share your experience and let us all know about it.

Nizar Hakeem

Technologist, computer and communications engineering graduate, certified in the governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT), AWS Cloud, and ITIL with 12+ years of solid experience in information technology systems infrastructure and a unique mix of both technical and business skills. Blogging about technology, movies, travel, and food!

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