DISCOP Dubai’s organiser has announced that 20 projects will be showcased during the premiere edition of the Arab Format Accelerator (AFA), which will become a permanent fixture of the three-day event that will be held from February 25-27, 2018. The AFA programme is a joint initiative between Khulud Abu Homos, CEO of Arab Format Lab, a TV content developer with offices in Dubai, Cairo and Jeddah; and the organiser of the Dubai edition of DISCOP.
Speaking about the market, Khulud Abu Homos commented: “We are in the midst of a positive transformation on the demand for socially relevant international formats. Lots of regional executives ask me ‘Why do we need to imitate successful international TV concepts? Can’t we create our own?’ The value of shows that can be adapted resides in the benefit of training talent on success proven concepts and shortening the learning curve. In the Middle East, specifically in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia, we are witnessing a drastic positive change in both governments’ focus and solid investment in local content and talents which is perceived as the most vital pillar to hold a valid media industry aimed at excellence, originality and financial viability”.
Previously, Homos has stated on her LinkedIn posts that 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.
The two-day AFA initiative will provide 20 up-and-coming creators and established producers with an opportunity to “elevator pitch” original ideas as well as existing concepts for scripted and unscripted TV shows in a wide spectrum of content genres.
These pitches will be directed at key production, commissioning and marketing executives driving television business across the Middle East and seeking fresh ideas.
Judging the presentations and mentoring for the candidates will come from industry pros Fadi Ismail, Director of Group Drama (Productions & Distribution) O3 Productions/MBC Group (UAE); Yahya Sameh, CEO, PromOmedia (Egypt); Justus Verkerk, CEO, FCCE (Netherlands); Jan Salling, CEO, Missing Link Media & co-Chairman, FRAPA (Denmark); Mai El Khalifa, Head of Production and Business Development Senior Manager, Dubai TV (UAE).
Speaking about the new initiative, Patrick Zuchowicki Jucaud, Founder and General Director of DISCOP Markets, added: “We believe it is important to train and support a new generation of creators who are able to meet the growing demand of the industry.”
The organiser is expecting more than 750 film, TV, online content production and distribution executives driving entertainment and media business across the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to participate in the Dubai edition of the event.