Digital TV penetration is set to increase in the Middle East as a result of recent social and political turmoil in the region. According to Digital TV Research, the recent events have resulted in liberalisation measures that will help digital TV penetration soon pass 70% in the region. Report author Simon Murray said: “Digital TV Research forecasts that digital penetration will reach 85% of TV households by 2017. Ten countries will achieve 100% penetration (and Israel will be the first to reach it – this year) by 2017. Penetration in Egypt, the largest Arab-speaking market, will be low at 58%. However, Egypt will boast 11.98 million digital TV homes by 2017; putting it into second-place behind Turkey (18.89 million).” According to the report, only 12.6% of Middle Eastern TV households legitimately paid for TV signals by end-2011, but this proportion is set to climb gradually to 17.1% by 2017. Israel will record 78% pay TV penetration by 2017, however pay TV penetration will be below 10% of TV households in seven countries. The number of pay TV homes will double between 2007 and 2017 to 12.3 million, with Turkey accounting for more than half the total. The report also found that more than 56% of TV households watch free-to-air DTH signals. While there are over 500 free-to-air channels serving the Arab world, many of them do not operate in a true commercial environment as they are funded by their local government or by a wealthy patron. FTA DTH penetration will continue to vary considerably among the 16 countries, being highest in Algeria (88%), Jordan (86%), Lebanon (83%) and Morocco (83%) by 2017.