Arab visual media industry pegged at $2 billion; TV holds 95% share

MUMBAI: Award winning Egyptian producer and director Mohamed Hefzy, who is also an expert in Arab cinema industry, feels that the industry is still lacking a commercial approach, thus hampering its growth.

According to Hefzy, the Arab visual media industry is currently worth $2 billion, with TV commanding 95 per cent share, while cinema is below five per cent and digital stands at a mere one per cent.

“There is a strong need for commercial mainstream productions targeting the wider Arab audiences, rather than making films for local markets,” says Hefzy.

Hefzy, a globally renowned film maker, lamented that cinema and TV industry is still in infancy in the Gulf but added that it was set for a growth of over 30 per cent in five years’ time; however, he cautioned that the sector was still not mature enough as far as production budgets are concerned, including big productions like movies, and many of them were making losses.

He also called for regulating, streamlining and professionalizing the entertainment production industry in the region. He said the industry has huge untapped potential, as there is an audience of nearly 300 million hankering for good world-class entertainment.

Fortress Capital Investments managing partner Hamed Mokhtar said, “More investments are needed in Arab entertainment sector to enable the players to raise the bar. Direct investment in this industry helps foster integrated partnerships between creative experts and cinema and TV production bodies, bringing the vibrancy and breadth of the arts in the Arab world to life on screen in innovative ways. More inflow of investments could help this industry flourish by leaps and bounds in the Arab world.”

Hefzy added, “The streamlining, developing and professionalizing the industry is a must; it is equally important to take commercial aspects very seriously. Providing the right infrastructure, tools, facilities and funding and regulations to the industry as well as professionals' training and development can result in raising the quality of productions. What is needed is a greater focus on educating people cinematically and culturally.”

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