Opinion

Will FANG drive collaboration in MENA?

The survival of the MENA media industry is at stake with the impending arrival of FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google – although a more recent modified coinage has been FANGA, with Apple joining the bandwagon)! Are we ready?

This was the key takeaway from the ASBU BroadcastPro Selevision Summit last month, where the CEOs of some of the most high-profile media entities in the region congregated to discuss the best way forward. The threat is no longer from within but from external forces – particularly FANG, which is taking over the world of entertainment with more investment, more daring and varied content, more universal distribution and the power to take away the advertising dollars.

There was a sense of urgency as MBC Group CEO Sam Barnett urged the decision makers in the room to put aside their differences and come together on a common platform: “I’m offering you Shahid … if you would like to come and put your content on this platform… we don’t want your money… come and make your advertising dollars on the platform… yes, the platform will get stronger, but we will benefit from such a collaboration.”

Martin Stewart, CEO of OSN, and most of the others on the panel agreed that collaboration and partnership are the way forward, and he said he had his pen ready, although he seemed sceptical about any regional collaboration coming to fruition. It does seem, however, that some serious talks on collaboration have been taking place, and I won’t be surprised if we hear collaborative announcements in the near future.

On another note, the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards hit some record numbers in terms of attendance, with more than 300 industry executives joining us during the day and a little under 400 at the gala awards. This is one of our most celebrated issues with some of the most influential people in the industry coming together and it resonates with the grandeur and joy of the Christmas season. See you next month! Until then, enjoy.