The second edition of DISCOP Dubai—which caters to content markets in the Middle East, Northern Africa and the Indian subcontinent—began Sunday morning, with around 275 registered buyers expected at the three-day event.
Patrick Zuchowicki, the CEO of Basic Lead, the company that organizes DISCOP Dubai, announced that at this year’s event there are more than 700 registered delegates from 69 countries, including 109 distributors and 274 buyers representing 165 free-to-air, pay-TV and streaming platforms from the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Central Europe.
On Sunday evening, the opening cocktail party celebrated India, DISCOP Dubai’s Guest Country, given the growing popularity of Indian programming in the MENA region. While welcoming delegates, Zuchowicki announced that in 2019, during the same dates as this year’s DISCOP Dubai, February 25 to 27, Basic Lead will be organizing a market in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and the Guest Country will be Saudi Arabia.
The event in Egypt will be in addition to other markets Basic Lead is holding in Africa later this year, including DISCOP Abidjan, May 29 to 31; DISCOP Zanzibar, July 11 to 13; DISCOP Johannesburg, November 14 to 16; and a market in Lagos, scheduled for 2019.
Meanwhile, at DISCOP Dubai, alongside providing a venue for the buying and selling of content, this year’s event is also featuring an Arab Format Accelerator, which focuses on 25 scripted and unscripted projects available for adaptation for the Middle Eastern marketplace. There is also the NEXT GEN program, providing keynotes and panel discussions aimed at creatives and production and distribution executives in the content business.
During the opening keynote by Dr. Riyadh Najm, the CEO of Saudi Media Measurement Company, delegates had the opportunity to learn about programming trends in Saudi Arabia, a country of some 30 million people, of which two-thirds are Saudi and one-third are ex-patriots. Average television viewing in the kingdom is 4 hours per day. Of all the films that aired on Saudi television in 2017, 40 percent were Turkish, 27 percent Indian, 19 percent Western, 8 percent Arab and 6 percent from the GCC, a political and economic alliance of six countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. The breakdown of all television series aired in 2017 finds that 34 percent were Turkish, 24 percent GCC, 19 percent Indian, 15 percent Arab and 9 percent Western.