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Arab visual media industry worth $2b

(Staff Report)
Filed on April 26, 2015

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

Dubai — The Arab cinema industry still lacks a commercial approach, thus hampering its growth, according to Mohamed Hefzy, an award-winning Egyptian producer and director.

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

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

Hefzy lamented that the cinema and TV industry is still in its 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.

Hefzy called for regulating, streamlining and professionalising 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.

Hamed Mokhtar, managing partner at Fortress Capital Investments, added: “More investments are needed in the 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.”

The streamlining, developing and professionalising 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,” Hefzy said.

business@khaleejtimes.com


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