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Middle eastern audiences crave premium Arabic content: CABSAT 2018

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MUMBAI: Demand for high quality Arabic content in the region has increased by almost 40% between 2011-2016, while western drama’s share of viewing decreased by an average of 55%, creating opportunities for regional producers to dominate the airwaves and secure their share of the market.

According Khulud Abu Homos, CEO at Arab Format Lab – RITIX Group, the evolving viewing trends within the region will usher in dramatic changes to the local content seen on screens at home.

“The Middle East market presents unique opportunities – and challenges – for producing rich content that can be adapted across markets. Similarly, unique cultural factors can impact broadcast programming, scheduling and timings.”

Ahead of her keynote session held during CABSAT’s Content Congress in the Dubai World Trade Centre, 14-16 January 2018, Abu Homos will highlight how her regional content development company, Arab Format Lab, has made the creation and delivery of premium and socially relevant content a priority in order to corner a gap in the market created by an increasing demand for quality Arabic TV shows.

“We have witnessed a dramatic change in viewing trends and content demand across the region, from Egypt, the Gulf countries and particularly Saudi Arabia. Audiences are craving premium Arabic content and there are openings for producing companies to step in. From adapting foreign content, to bringing international formats to be reproduced in Arabic and developing innovative original local content, there are many ways to improve what is delivered,” added Abu Homos.

“Even something as simple as changing scheduling show times during Ramadan, when the viewing trends of audiences shift, can have a dramatic impact on advertising.”

Also speaking at the Content Congress, Kaswara Alkhatib, CEO at UTURN Entertainment will highlight dramatic changes taking place within the digital and broadcast TV industry.

“The digital video content industry is evolving and changing at a rapid pace. Because of this, and with it playing such an important role in how the youth digest content, it can be hard to master; changes in trends can turn in an instant.”

As a leading Arabic entertainment network on YouTube, UTURN’s Alkhatib aims to highlight how to be a successful digital content producer, as well as examine the pitfalls to avoid when branching out into traditional broadcast TV.

Added Alkhatib, “In the past year we witnessed online content creators migrating to TV with shows like ‘Tonight with Bader Saleh’, ‘One-door with Ibrahim Salih’ and ‘Youth Council with Omar Hussein’. What was interesting to note is they did not get the same success as online due to the different audience between TV and Online.”

The Content Congress, the Middle East and Africa’s leading broadcast conference, and the co-located SATEXPO, delivering all satellite communication solutions and technologies to the MENA region, will both return as prominent features during the upcoming CABSAT, delivering high-level sessions streamlined into three tracks: technical, strategic and creative.

More than 40 speakers are set to share their insights during the keynote presentations and panel discussions, representing industry heavyweights such as Facebook, BBC, iflix, WWE, UTURN, Cartoon Network Studios Arabia, Rotana Media Group, Viacom International Media Networks' (VIMN), Turner Broadcasting, Cote Ouest, Cairo News Company, Discovery Networks and FremantleMedia.

Similarly, SATEXPO’s line up will include high level speakers across broadcast, telecoms, aviation and maritime sectors with the keynote address delivered by HE Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency.

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