Exclusive: In a first, Saudi Arabia to participate in Cannes Film Festival

Updated 08 April 2018

Exclusive: In a first, Saudi Arabia to participate in Cannes Film Festival

  • Saudi Arabia will officially take part in the 71st Cannes Film Festival
  • Hollywood blockbuster “Black Panther” will be the first film shown in Saudi Arabia in 35 years

PARIS: Saudi Arabia will officially participate for the first time in the Cannes Film Festival, Arab News has learned from a source at the Kingdom’s Ministry of Culture and Information.
Riyadh is also planning to constitute a film board tasked with regulating and supporting the industry. The board will report to the newly formed General Culture Authority.
The Kingdom is reopening cinemas on April 18 for the first time in more than 35 years, with Hollywood blockbuster “Black Panther” being the first film shown.
Saudi Arabia, with a population of over 32 million most of whom are under 30, is expected to become the region’s largest market for movie theater operators, with annual ticket sales being estimated at up to $1 billion.
Experts say Saudi Arabia’s participation in the 71st Cannes Film Festival will give Saudi filmmakers a big opportunity to showcase their talent on the world stage.
AMC, the largest cinema operator in the world, was awarded an operating license last week by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
About 350 cinemas with more than 2,500 screens are expected to be in operation by 2030.
One of the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 is to improve the quality of life by providing additional entertainment opportunities, Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, the minister of culture and information, said last week.
Vision 2030 sets a goal of raising Saudi Arabia’s annual spending on cultural and entertainment activities from 2.9 percent of Saudi family expenditure at present to 6 percent by 2030.


Saudis switch from TV to mobile video

A man records a video with his phone in Berlin, Germany, August 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 August 2019

Saudis switch from TV to mobile video

  • Short online films are watched most during the traditional primetime TV slot between 5pm and 11pm, for an average of 53 minutes

RIYADH: More Saudis watch short online videos than traditional TV, a new study suggests. Researchers found that more than 85 percent of Saudis viewed videos lasting less than 10 minutes at least once a day. Eight out of 10 watched premium professional short films every day, while only seven out of 10 watched traditional TV every day.
Short online films are watched most during the traditional primetime TV slot between 5pm and 11pm, for an average of 53 minutes.
Of those surveyed, 93 percent said mobile video helped them discover new and unique content, and 91 percent said it stimulated their minds, put them in a positive mood and gave them a chance to take a break from their daily lives.
“Saudis are some of the most avid short-form video consumers in the world,” said Andy Pang, head of international marketing science at Snapchat, the multimedia messaging app, which commissioned the survey.

HIGHLIGHT

A new study shows that while more video is being consumed than ever before in the Kingdom, there are major changes in viewing habits.

“With one of the highest levels of mobile Internet penetration, and one of the highest social messaging and media usage rates in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is poised for a mobile, short-form expansion that may even eclipse more established markets.”
For the survey, Snapchat commissioned the National Research Group, an independent market research company, to conduct a representative study of 869 Saudis.