All signs point to a flourishing Arabic content sector in 2024 with Saudi Arabia contributing significantly to the advancement of this sector.
I wish all of you a Happy New Year. The new year always presents a great opportunity to speak about new initiatives and make predictions. I’ll check that first box by saying that BroadcastPro ME will be hosting our first Summit in Saudi Arabia this year on February 28. Our aim is not so much to replicate what we have done in Dubai as to tailor our agenda to suit the Saudi media ecosystem.
Secondly, if I had to make a prediction on one sector in Media and Entertainment that is really going to take off this year, it is the Arabic content market, and I believe Saudi Arabia has played a huge role in giving this sector a massive push. Besides the El Gouna Film Festival, the Red Sea International Film Festival, which just concluded last month, had the largest showcase of high-quality Arabic-language films that are emerging from the region. Alongside this, Neom and AlUla have created conducive environments in terms of infrastructure, resources, rebate programmes and the relevant talent pool and crew for regional and international productions to shoot in. The fact that these places also have breathtaking landscape makes them the perfect lures for producers looking for new locales. An additional advantage is the raft of grants, funding, training programmes, investments from various quarters and collaborations with international partners that are encouraging content creators to ambitiously push forward with their stories, especially as there’s a market now for them.
Saudi Arabia has not just set the stage for high-quality regional productions; it has also fanned deep interest in hyperlocal productions. Saudi feature film Sattar has earned over $11m at the box office so far, with 917,000 admissions since it was launched early last year. Last month, Saudi thriller Mandoob broke all records, earning a whopping $1.58m within ten days of its release across KSA on December 14.
With good Arabic content on the rise, Arabs are starting to favour it over international productions – something definitely worth discussing at our upcoming Saudi summit, in addition to trending topics in broadcast and streaming. Stay tuned.