We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Mon 1 Nov 2010 12:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Showtime

Expo season is in full swing, and MyContent promises to be a mouth-watering fusion of production pros and broadcast bigwigs to rival any other.

Showtime
MyContent is one of the region’s leading media marketplaces.
Showtime
You’re sure to see a weird and wonderful array of creations at the show.

Expo season is in full swing, and MyContent promises to be a mouth-watering fusion of production pros and broadcast bigwigs to rival any other.

The dust may just have settled on this month’s IPTV Middle East Forum; even Gitex is more than a lingering memory. Yet Dubai is already gearing up for another headline-stealing November event: MyContent. The 29th November – 1st December show, sponsored by Abu Dhabi content creation house twofour54 and held at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre, is the only entertainment content expo in the MENA region. “(MyContent) is essentially a marketplace for producing, co-producing, selling, buying and distributing entertainment content,” reads the show’s website. “It provides professionals involved in the TV, film, animation, comics, music, digital content and media content industry with the perfect platform to do business.”

In fact MyContent’s, well, content, is pretty bewildering. It provides great business opportunities in the fields of – deep breath – TV, film, animation, internet, mobile, kids’ shows, social media, creative art and digital media. As if that wasn’t enough, it also coincides with the Dubai International Character and Licensing Fair, Dubai World Game Expo and the MyContent Awards. The concurrent MyContent Summit will test the industry’s pulse with a range of discussions, including ‘International content for the Middle East’ and ‘Successful licensing business model and case study in the Middle East’. There’s certainly no shortage of things to see and do.

Neither is there a lack of big names. For while MyContent might not have the star billing of, say, Gitex or the IPTV World Forum, it weighs in with some imperious conference fodder in the shapes of Jordanian production headliner Rubicon, Turner Broadcasting (refer to this month’s news to see what the US giant has been up to in the region) and fellow American firm Telemundo. Other big-hitters include Sketch in Motion (Jordan), Raeika Pictures (Iran), Rainbow Max (Saudi Arabia) and Tarek Rashed Studio (Egypt).

MyContent reflects an industry and a region in rude health, with the frighteningly fast rise of mobile content and IPTV leading a swathe of new talent into the fray. The entire region is tooling itself up for a digital revolution, with Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and broadband accessibility drives occurring everywhere. Qatar and the UAE may be emerging major players, but production and delivery companies from every corner of the Middle East are enjoying the benefits of cutting-edge technology which means it doesn’t take a bank-busting budget to make something great.

The writing’s also on the wall as far as advertising revenues and economic stability are concerned. With the global financial meltdown well behind, and with the Middle East (with the exception of, nonetheless cash-rich, Dubai) feeling the pinch far less than other regions, digital media can expect nothing less than a creative explosion in the coming years, something MyContent is making far easier. The Dubai International Film Festival observes that “television and music channels dominate the (MENA) region, with 35% of the region’s channels based in the UAE or Saudi Arabia.” Equally promising is its assertion that by 2015 13 million households across three GCC nations and Egypt will enjoy medium to high level incomes. In short buyers have cash to buy with, and creators have the cash, and skilled labour, to invest in high-quality products.

The positive view is echoed by INDEX Conferences & Exhibitions Organisation project manager Koichi Yokoyama, who sees MyContent as a key opportunity for every section of the broadcast industry. “MyContent was launched to establish, improve, drive and cater for the rising demand of content in the region, along with the creative content industry in the UAE and the Arab world,” he says.

“The region has so much potential in terms of creativity based on Arab common belief, culture and high education,” adds Yokoyama. “Our mission is to connect and build businesses within the TV, film, broadcasting, digital content, mobile content, media, interactive entertainment, and publishing industries by providing a platform where professionals from the MENA region and the rest of the world can have face-to-face meetings and discuss business opportunities for the region.”

Another force driving MyContent is a renewed demand for home-grown programming. While many broadcasters have been happy to slap together Hollywood content in the past, financial prosperity has brought an enthusiasm for content created by, and based around the issues of, local people. An excellent example is the advent of Cartoon Network Arabic, twinning showcase American brands with local shows like Freej and Ben & Izzy.

Dubai Flamingos, a movie by local production house Alfama Films, has already started filming, starring Vanessa Paradis and Sergi Lopez. “By all means be involved with Hollywood, but as a partner, not as a banker, and in the process impose your people,” says Tunisian filmmaking legend Tarak Ben Ammar. “There’s not one director that would say no, they love to leave a legacy. That’s what we can leave a generation of Emiratis. There are a thousand television stations in the Arab world, and 975 of them lose money. If we can fund all these stations, let’s fill them up with Arab talent. Let’s create jobs, culture and independence.”

“We believe that MyContent can also contribute to the UAE’s “VISION 2021” by providing an opportunity where local producers can promote the UAE’s cultural roots to be treasured as a profound and sacred element of the nation’s rich heritage,” adds Yokoyama. “The entertainment content industry can help diversify the UAE’s economy.”

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.