The initiative aims to encourage investment in MENA content projects through co-funding, co-production, and commissioning.
CABSAT has once again partnered with Dubai-based company HConsult to host the second annual MENA region co-production salon at the show’s upcoming edition, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 16-18, 2023.
The co-production initiative, which connects content creators, production houses and investors, aims to encourage investment in MENA content projects through co-funding, co-production, and commissioning. It will also facilitate opportunities to explore other content funding avenues such as brand integration, private investments, and product placement.
The first co-production, held in 2022, attracted more than 40 participating companies, including reputed international platforms, TV channels, production houses, and private investors. This year’s salon will be based in a dedicated meeting lounge that includes private areas to facilitate meeting, networking, and discussing business opportunities.
CABSAT is once again working with the industry’s top content creators, producers and broadcast technology providers, as well as satellite distribution and content delivery companies, to identify common traits of success across all verticals that can serve as the blueprint for future growth.
Highlights from the previous edition of the co-production lounge included Roya TV from Jordan, Egypt’s T-Vision, Morocco’s Image Factory, and Bright Lens Media from the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia as some of the participating companies, while the 2023 instalment will welcome both Arabic and foreign film content looking to explore opportunities for co-production in long-form entertainment content, co-funding entertainment content, and commissioning projects for OTT Originals.
Commenting on her experience of the first-ever co-production Salon last year, Katerina Pshenitsyna, deputy CEO at SMF Animation, one of the global giants in animation production and distribution, said: “Last year’s event was spot-on. We are still actively looking for real co-production opportunities in Arabic kids’ content. For the past 80 years, our content has been travelling worldwide, and now that we have an established presence in the MENA region, we look forward to more content partnerships that develop wonderful stories from this part of the world, for the region and beyond.”
Speaking in anticipation of this year’s event, Medhat Karam, CEO of Shofha, one of the region’s fastest-growing OTT platforms, said: “Partnerships and collaborations are an integral part of our company’s DNA. We sent the full team to attend last year, and we are planning to participate again this year, with a focus on expanding our partnerships not only in content production, but also rights sharing with other platforms.
“Our strength lies in our scalability; since we’re already very well-established in important mass territories like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, we’re able to co-invest with our partners in great quality content for a fraction of the market price. Also, we’re now rapidly expanding into other territories like Africa, so economies of scale that we gain will naturally be passed on to our partners. At this coproduction salon we look forward to meeting with established production houses, platforms, and potential business partners.”
Heba Korayem, Content Market & Distribution Consultant at HConsult, who will chair the Salon again this year, stated that the previous event saw more than 250 quality meetings take place, with around 30 high-value partnership deals in negotiation during the three-day period.
Korayem added: “I can confidently say that at least half of the business deals discussed have already been closed. That’s pretty good in the MENA region, as it is not unusual for deals to take several months to finalise. I’m delighted that we are able to offer the opportunities to the right people that can accelerate the process.”
Also expected to participate in this year’s co-production Salon are some of the most prominent platforms and broadcasters, including Shahid, TOD, StarzPlay, VOX, OSN, StarsPlay, E-Vision, and Saudi Broadcast Corporation, along with noted Arabic content producers from the UAE-based Eagle Films; Saudi’s Art Format Lab; Cedars Art from Lebanon, and the Egyptian Arpu Plus and United Media Services.