The inaugural two-day MENA Cinema Forum, the first-ever business conference of its kind for the regional market, opened at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai. The two-day conference that closes on 29 October plays host to more than 45 speakers who will discuss cinema-related issues in front of an audience of 500 delegates from 45 countries.
The number of cinema screens in the MENA are set to jump 38.4% to 1,800 in the next 3-5 years, up from 1,300 currently.
The keynote panel discussed the economic impact of the growing cinema market in the MENA region, the effect of the Saudi cinema market across the region, industry rules, regulations, policies and upcoming developments in the cinema sector, new markets, mergers and newcomers, requirements for creating seamless supply chains for the cinema industry in the region, how stakeholders can sync efforts to build a successful industry, and real estate availability and requirements for physical infrastructure.
While moderating the first panel, Jan Runge, Independent Advisor on Cinema Strategy and Implementation and moderator, in his a keynote address said: “There is a fine creative talent in the region. Cinema today is truly international and the MENA region is poised to be part of the $40 billion dollar global industry. Dubai as a hub of GCC entertainment has world renowned cinemas.”
Abdulaziz Almuzaini, General Manager and Co-Founder of Myrkott Animation Studio in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said: “Our studies indicated significant potential market, boom in online audiences and it is a big opportunity for KSA to capitalise on.”
Commenting on the potential of the larger expatriate community, Arturo Guillen, VP, EMEA and India, ComScore, Inc. said: “We have to develop a lot of local content and how to drive attendance and generate interest. Indian movies will play a major role with three million Indians in KSA. Understanding of big data and catering to its requirements will help optimie the growth of the industry.”
Mohamed Al Hashemi, Country Manager KSA, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas, added: “We need to learn from local versus international cinema markers – Hollywood, Bollywood and Arab. KSA is a promising neighbouring market with new offerings that Majid Al Futtaim Ventures is looking into and planning for the next five to 10 years.”
Amer Bin Ahmed, CEO, Knauf, the main sponsor of the event said: “Every content has its own customers. We are in the final stages of signing a big agreement with a global cinema giant that we will reveal in due course.”