Television programmes of varying genres have become the most popular information tool worldwide. Innovation, however, remains restricted with television producers unable to move away from stereotypes amidst concerns that the community is unprepared to accept change. This was the common consensus among experts during a key session on day two of the 11th Arab Media […]
Television programmes of varying genres have become the most popular information tool worldwide. Innovation, however, remains restricted with television producers unable to move away from stereotypes amidst concerns that the community is unprepared to accept change. This was the common consensus among experts during a key session on day two of the 11th Arab Media Forum (AMF 2012).
Titled Television Production: Where is the Innovation?, the session highlighted the lack of creativity in Arab television production. The discussion also looked into the reasons for the decline in creativity and the growing trend of copying western counterparts.
Moderated by Reem Maged, anchor, On TV, Egypt, the session was headlined by Ali Al Rumaithy, director of Dubai TV, and executive director for Radio and Television, Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), Assaad Taha, documentary filmmaker, general manager, Hot Spot Films; Fadi Ismail, general manager, O3 Productions; Heba Hamada, writer, Kuwait, and Ibrahim Al Ariss, head of Cinema Section, Al Hayat Newspaper, Lebanon.
Highlighting the distinctive difference between innovation and creativity, Ali Al Rumaithy said: Innovation does not necessarily imply new content but can also mean renewed input. Producers are constantly trying to further develop and personalise content that is provided in programmes. Ideas can be adapted to suit a different reality without having to worry about plagiarism.
Despite the presence of more than 550 Arab satellite stations and the increase of transmission hours to facilitate new productions and ideas, there is still a basic reliance on foreign production.
In this context, Fadi Ismail noted: The reality is that TV series are still being produced in various regions of the Arab world, so it is unfair to say there is a crisis in innovation. Our programmes are a combination of local and international content and I do not believe there is any harm in benefitting from what has been achieved elsewhere.
Contributing to Ismails perspective, Assaad Taha said: TV ought to reflect the reality on-ground, whether drama or news. We have come a long way from the quality of productions some ten years ago. However, with the lack of budgets and soaps and talk-shows getting the lions share of air-time, low priority is given to such productions. The problem is not innovation but the adoption of innovation that does not conform to stereotypes.
Commenting on some of the factors that have led to a decline in creativity and innovation, Fadi Ismail added: Viewers are not as impressionable as before; we cannot give them what they do not like. This places a great responsibility on producers shoulders. We assume that the problem lies with factors such as availability of visuals and skills. However, financing is also a key issue making it difficult to invest in producing innovative content.
The workshop also examined television production in countries such as Turkey that draw viewers from across the Arab world. Looking into American programmes that command a global viewership, panelists concluded the Arab world cannot compete with international productions given the inhibitions and reservations prevalent in the region.
Highlighting the way forward, Heba Hamada said: We have been trying hard to renew the image, shapes and forms we have on screen. In reality, viewers have formed intimate relationships with these actors and situations on screen. Breaking this link will require various means with which to change perceptions.
Themed Arab Media: Exposure and Transition, the 11th Arab Media Forum is a two-day event that has drawn the participation of regional and international journalists, as well as influential decision makers, opinion leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.
In the run up to AMF 2012, Dubai Press Club released the key findings of the fourth Arab Media Outlook, providing projections for the regional media sector up to 2015.
The Arab Media Forum has garnered year-on-year success through the past 10 editions, validating Dubai and the UAEs ability to host such high-profile events that draw a significant international media presence.
This press release was issued by AMF.