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Cover Story

Cover Story

MENA media market set for recovery ?

2020 was a nightmare for the media and entertainment market globally . 2021 has also been poor . Is the MENA market set for recovery in 2022 , asks regional expert Chris Forrester in his latest update on this complex , but increasingly-important , market .

We are living through extraordinary times . The past two years have been terrible with the Coronavirus affecting just about every one of us . However , while the news was unremittingly bad , the one group who benefitted were broadcasters . They have – and still are – enjoying record viewing numbers as people somehow affected by lockdowns spend extra hours sat in front of their television sets .

Some , especially those with a broadband or high-speed wireless connection , have helped propel Netflix , Disney and Amazon Prime Studios to their best-ever
“ Uptake of SVoD and OTT is relatively small compared to satellite .”
subscriber and viewing numbers . But with commerce frozen , advertising has been scarce . And there have been major challenges for producers . UK Covid rules , for example , simply forbade any filming from January 2021 and enforced a tightening of filming and production restrictions for a couple of months . There were exceptions : production staff over 70 yearsof-age , who had received at least one virus jab , could apply for an exemption to the rules . This prompted more than one query , asking how many 70 + folk were actually working in the predominantly youthful production sector ! RESTRICTIONS : These rules did not dramatically affect Gulf and other Arab producers . But Hollywood – including its Canadian outposts in Toronto and Vancouver – was also badly hurt by similar restrictions . Dozens , and hundreds of shows and movies were closed down or severely curtailed . But where there ’ s a will there ’ s a way , and Hollywood has embraced an even greater quantity of virtual production , using VFX and mixed reality within their workflow schedules .
Most studios have followed the rules and it is impressive how many productions now feature storylines where the on-screen