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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Netflix 12-hour outage affects UAE users

Now fixed, the problem was to do with its content delivery network hosted by Etisalat 

Joel Kinnaman stars in the new sci-fi TV series 'Altered Carbon'. Courtesy Netflix
Joel Kinnaman stars in the new sci-fi TV series 'Altered Carbon'. Courtesy Netflix

Netflix users in the UAE have experienced a network connectivity issue that prevented their devices from accessing the streaming service for about 12 hours on Friday.

Frustrated users had turned to social media in appeals for help and to find solutions to their problem, asking if the problem could be with their internet provider or with Netflix itself. The issue started at around 1 am and was resolved by noon on Friday.

"We experienced a short outage with one of our content delivery network hosted by Etisalat. The service is now back to normal," said Netflix in a statement to The National. It could not provide further details of the exact reason for the outage but it is still investigating the matter, Netflix said.

87 complains were reported on downdetector.ae website regarding the Netflix problems, 55 per cent of them said that it was a connectivity issue while 30 per cent said they experiencing issues with video streaming.

Some people were trying to report the issue on Twitter.

Users had said on the website that devices connected to the Etisalat internet connection were not working.

Netflix launched its UAE service two years ago as part of a global roll-out to more than 130 countries and offers movies and TV shows on demand including its own productions such as series The Crown and latest release sci-fi thriller Altered Carbon.

The research firm MarketsandMarkets forecasts the global video-on-demand market will more than double to US$61.4 billion by 2019 from $25.30bn in 2014. Total online video market revenues in the Mena region stood at $500 million in 2016, a year-on-year growth of 51 per cent from 2015, says IHS Markit. About 65 per cent of this revenue came from advertising, but going forward, subscription will drive growth, it says.

On Monday, Etisalat announced a five-year content deal between E-Vision, its fully-owned subsidiary, and Starz Play, the Dubai video-on-demand service.

More than 10,000 hours of Hollywood and Bollywood movies, will be available for Etisalat eLife customers along with US TV shows, documentaries, kids entertainment and dedicated Arabic content, Etisalat said.

In July, Starz Play said it had received investments from Dubai's Delta Partners Group and the Boston asset manager State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), bringing the total amount committed to the start-up, over the two year-period since it launched in April 2015, up to $125m.

Both Netflix and Starz Play are among the top 25 visited web sites in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to data last summer.