Enjoy Discop West Asia… growth is here

The second day of Discop West Asia in Istabul, delivers positive sensations. Yesterday, starting the show, intense business traffic emerged on every corner of the Ceylan Intercontinental hotel, with fully-book agendas.

While the U.S. market and Europe (the TV ad pie in Central and Eastern Europe fell 6% in 2012) remain affected by the aftermath of the 2008 world financial crisis, the nations targeted at Discop are growing at a solid pace and constantly increasing their purchasing power.

Buyers are appear very active looking for all type of content (ready made & formats; drama, documentaries, etc.); in addition, the Middle East market is flashing with new players in action and more co-developments between different countries.

The Arab Spring trigged positive changes at the broadcasting industry. There are 80 million Arab households with 95% of them receiving satellite TV and more than 650 Arab channels. The number of productions in 2012 was the largest in history with 160 series, leaded by Egypt (79), Gulf (29), Syrian and Iraq (20).

Drama is the most important genre among Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE viewers (90% against 50% on entertainment and sports). Social drama beats other genres like comedy or Bedouin stories. There are new production centers in MENA: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gulf Stats and Iraq. 

This data was provided yesterday by Nabil Kazan, president and CEO of K & Partners during Producing cross-cultural dramas for TV panel. ‘The new trend of dubbing almost any program into Arabic has moved channel owners to acquire relevant programs from around the world. The region has spent USD 1.1 billion in local production & acquisitions in 2012’, he highlighted.

Later, at the panel The power of Drama in Muslim countries, Fadi Ismail, director of drama at MBC Group, highlighted its super-production with Qatar, Omar: ‘It was an extraordinary project, but unrepeatable. We could not have done it with out a strategic partner from Qatar. Following the international trends, there is more collaborations, co-productions and co-financing deals in the region’.

The new co-productions deals, third panel of the day, was a good example of this:  representatives from Turkey (Behceshir University), Bulgaria (Start up) Malaysia (FINAS, CCMA and MDeC) and UK (Lion Television) displayed their strength and described their objectives concerning co-production.

Azerbaijan is another territory present at the show. Companies from this country are looking for ready-made drama series and entertainment formats, and  are interested in doing co-production deals. Azerbaijan Producers Guild is in Istanbul pushing this drive. The same happens with Lebanon, whose TV industry is growing, especially on the drama side, and looking for partnerships.

Regarding Turkey, local players are betting strongly on new media. On the one hand, leading Turkish pay TV player D-Smart (900,000 subscribers) launched a month ago its OTT service called D-Smart Blu, offering movies, series and kids contents; and, leading broadcaster Kanal D is prepared to launch a new SVOD services for the web and mobile with international content (HBO, etc.).

As a good image of the activity in Istanbul, Turkish distributors TRT and Global Agency are organizing today a cocktail and a party separately. Kanal D did the same yesterday at the Hilton Hotel, while ATV hosted a party at the Besiktas neighborhood, both full of colors and people. 

By Fabricio Ferrara, from Istanbul


Discop West Asia 2013: 30% more participants

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