Arab visual media industry worth $2bn

The Arab visual media industry is currently worth $2 billion, with the television sector commanding the lions share (95 per cent) while cinema is below five per cent and digital stands at less than one per cent, said an expert.

The cinema and TV industry was still in infancy stage in the Gulf region but was set for a growth of over 30 per cent in the next five years, remarked Mohamed Hefzy, the award winning Egyptian producer and director, and expert in Arab cinema industry.

However, he cautioned that the sector was still not mature enough as far as production budgets were concerned, including big productions like movies, and many of them were making losses.

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

The industry is still lacking a commercial approach, thus hampering its growth. Arab cinema industry must get more commercial and international,” he added.

A globally renowned film maker, Hefzy called for regulating, streamlining and professionalizing the entertainment production industry in the region.

The industry, he stated, has huge untapped potential, as there is an audience of nearly 300 million hankering for good world-class entertainment.

Hamed Mokhtar, the managing partner at Fortress Capital Investments, a leading investment firm operating in the Middle East, said: More investments are needed in 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, noted Mokhtar.

Hefzy said the streamlining, developing and professionalising the industry was 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, he noted.

What is needed is a greater focus on educating people cinematically and culturally, he added.

The co- producer of ‘Pyramid’ movie, Hefzy has consistently delivered on excellence by creating original films that has been widely hailed by critics.

Hefzy recently co-produced the British movie ‘My Brother the Devil’ which has already been internationally commended for its dramatic debut and also the UAE movie  A to B that has kicked off the Abu Dhabi Film Festival last year.

He produced and wrote a number of films that have been recognized worldwide and won international awards.

Founded by Hefzy, Film Clinic has emerged as a leading production company in the Mena region, by producing unique feature films and documentaries that tell fascinating stories of people, places and philosophies. – TradeArabia News Service

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