Co-Production Salon at CABSAT 2023 Sparks High-Value Deals

    Over the course of three days in Dubai from May 16-18, 2023, HCONSULT and CABSAT organized the second Co-Production Salon, a highly anticipated event that brought together major media entities from across the MENA region. In total, 240 meetings were held during the event, which took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre. As a leading content market specialist in the Arabic-speaking MENA region, HCONSULT successfully concluded the initiative alongside CABSAT, the flagship event for content creation, production, distribution, digital media, satellite communication, and space technology.

    The first Co-Production Salon, held in 2022, witnessed the participation of over 40 companies, including reputed international platforms, TV channels, production houses, and private investors. This year’s edition, located in an invite-only area of the three-day show, offered a dedicated meeting lounge to encourage investments in long-form entertainment content to and from the MENA region, including series and films, through collaborative efforts between the largest regional and international media entities.

    Co-Production Salon concludes second edition at CABSAT 2023

    Kicking off the event, the first day set the stage for productive and engaging experiences. Key highlights included an exclusive presentation by the founder of the Co-Production Salon, Arabic content market expert Heba Korayem, who shared valuable insights on the MENA region’s Ramadan peak TV month, which is estimated to be worth a staggering USD 0.5 billion . This was followed by an analysis by Rafal Radawiec, CEO of Polish AI-powered security company Vestigit, of piracy’s impact on the Ramadan content production industry in 2023. Additionally, insights on the growth of FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television) and ad-supported content monetisation in MENA were shared by Maria Rua Aguete, Senior Research Director of UK-based research company Omdia.

    Tony Saab, SVP of Content and Strategic Partnerships at Starzplay, emphasised the value of Co-Production Salon in the sector, stating: ” The industry needs an initiative like the Co-Production Salon. Finding appropriate potential content partners was made simpler for us as the businesses selected to join have already been pre-filtered using a set of criteria.”

    Around 20 companies, selected based on specific criteria such as number of hours produced, ability to co-fund/invest or having produced for a broadcasting entity excluding social media, participated in the Salon, which facilitated over 240 high-quality meetings, encouraging discussions on co-funding and rights sharing. Leading platforms and production houses actively sought high-quality producers to commission new projects and explore innovative ideas.

    Prominent media entities participated at HCONSULT’s Co-Production Salon at CABSAT, including the MENA region’s biggest Arabic production houses, such as Cedars Art, MBC Studios, Eagle Films, VOX Studios, Arab Telemedia Group, and over 20 other Arabic production powerhouses spanning Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Oman. Along with Starzplay, all major regional streaming platforms were present, from Shahid to OSN, and Jawwy (Saudi Telecom), and 10 others. Additionally, major international companies like Paramount, Entertainment Studios from the US, Greenstone from New Zealand, Zee Entertainment from India, and Yandex from Russia attended, demonstrating a global interest in the initiative.

    Elena Brodskaya, Head of International Content Strategy at Yandex, a MENA-based entertainment super app and one of the leading platforms in the CIS region, expressed her enthusiasm for the venture. She said: “For Yandex, as a newcomer to the market, attending the Co-Production Salon at CABSAT was extremely insightful. Meeting with best-in-class producers, top managers of leading streaming services and creators at one place was the best way to get a deep dive into the market, learn the latest local trends and make invaluable professional connections.”

    William Page, Chief Strategy Officer of 1001, the fastest-growing VOD platform in Iraq, also expressed the value of participating, adding: “It was an honour to participate in the MENA region’s second Co-Production Salon workshop at CABSAT in Dubai, which was meticulously organised by Heba Korayem. At 1001, we are relentlessly committed to delivering diverse, engaging and high-quality content to our rapidly expanding viewer base. Our participation in this workshop was primarily centred on identifying content partners that align with our mission and our viewers’ needs. The selection of companies at the Co-Production Salon precisely mirrored our requirements, positioning us on the right track towards achieving our objectives of building robust partnerships and further accelerating our growth.”

    Korayem expressed her satisfaction with the event, stating: “The second edition of the Co-Production Salon has once again showcased the immense potential of collaboration in our industry. The engagement and interest from companies in this edition have been exceptional. We’ve recorded over 240 meetings taking place, and from our previous experience, due to the quality of pre-arranged meetings, the ratio is that one deal is closed for every five to six meetings held. So, we’re anticipating around 40 major partnership deals to be announced over the coming year, not just straightforward acquisition-type announcements that take place during content markets..”

    – Korayem expressed satisfaction with the Co-Production Salon’s second edition
    – Collaboration potential in the industry was showcased
    – Engagement and interest from companies was exceptional
    – Over 240 meetings were recorded, with an anticipated 1 deal closed for every 5-6 meetings held
    – Anticipation for around 40 major partnership deals to be announced over the coming year

    The Co-Production Salon’s 2023 edition successfully cultivated an environment of collaboration, innovation and investment in the MENA entertainment industry, paving the way for exciting new ventures and partnerships. HCONSULT remains committed to driving the growth and development of the region’s content market and looks forward to future editions of the Co-Production Salon at CABSAT.

    The second edition of the Co-Production Salon at CABSAT in Dubai was a success, bringing together major media entities from across the MENA region for three days of collaboration, innovation, and investment in the entertainment industry. With over 240 high-quality meetings between carefully selected companies, the event showcased the immense potential of collaboration in the industry. The anticipation is for around 40 major partnership deals to be announced over the coming year, further driving the growth and development of the region’s content market. HCONSULT remains committed to organizing future editions of the Co-Production Salon and facilitating productive and engaging experiences for all participants.

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