This month, Digital Studio opens a new chapter in its history. We are steering the magazine towards production and editing to reflect the growth of the Arab production industry, which has gained momentum with the launch of ambitious initiatives like Dubai Studio City as well as government-backed efforts to market countries like Jordan and Dubai as new locales for film shoots.
Within the local production industry, we have seen a surge in demand for Arabic TV series especially during Ramadan when TV channels tend to command maximum viewership.
However, do these series need to be limited to one month of the year? If the same efforts can be replicated throughout the year, there would be a greater likelihood of improving viewership figures and bringing in more ad revenue for broadcasters.
Let's look at the Indian market, for instance, which has fine tuned the art of making 'TV serials' that keep viewers riveted to the screen from 6.30 to 10.30 pm everyday. These serials, which are usually of a half-hour duration, are extremely ad heavy and are a huge source of revenue for producers and broadcasters.
The TV serial industry is a huge market in its own right in India. These programmes have all the grandeur that films have and their actors command as much respect as their Bollywood counterparts.
For those who have missed evening episodes, channels even have replays in the mornings while some enthusiastic viewers also put them up on You Tube to encourage Web viewing.
There are several web sites devoted to discussing the outcome of these episodes and what turn the story will take next. These web sites make a substantial amount of money from the ad banners that run on them.
With the gradual build up of more Arabic TV production in the region, broadcasters need to seriously consider investing in productions that can be sustained throughout the year. If they do this, we will see a production market that is now in second gear moving very quickly to the fifth.
A whole industry will mushroom around this. More locations from Oman to Morocco will become sought after; it will gradually give rise to an acting industry in the region; more equipment will be required, and costume makers will come and set up shop. A move like this would act as a catalyst to develop smaller industries and revenue will start to pour in.
Digital Studio believes that the seeds for a sophisticated production industry are gradually being sown in the Middle East and in a short period of time, it will be ready to blossom. The course we take in this magazine will reflect the growth in the industry. Stay tuned.