The number of deals signed between Indian companies and Dubai-based entities has surged in the last few months. In just the last month, we have seen one major Indian entertainment company conclude a multi-million dollar deal with a Dubai-based firm while at least three Indian TV channels have announced their entry into the Middle East.
Last month saw Bollywood giant, Yash Raj Films sign a multi-million dollar joint venture with Dubai Infinity Holdings to build a large-scale entertainment district in Dubai that will include cinema complexes, hotels and other Bollywood attractions. The district will be spread over an area of 150 hectares and will cost approximately US $180 million in the first phase of its development.
Speaking about the relevance of Indian cinema in the UAE, Samira Abdulrazzak, CEO of Dubai Infinity Holding, said: “The UAE’s population comprises 52% residents from the Subcontinent and they are very enthusiastic about their movies as they spend 68% of their disposable income on entertainment. Our cinema statistics also show that Bollywood films gross higher than Western films here. Furthermore, Indian cinema is very fondly followed by Emiratis and other Arabs as well. This joint venture will not only cater to this segment; it will also help create more business opportunities for both countries.”
Indian cinema is presently the fastest-growing film industry in the world [at a staggering 90%], producing more than 1,000 films a year. By comparison, Hollywood produces less than 500 films and China less than 100 films annually.
In the meantime, Indian television group INX Media has appointed Dubai-based consultancy firm, Media Solutions to oversee the launch of the group’s Hindi general entertainment channel 9X and music channel 9XM in the region, while NDTV Imagine was made available to MENA viewers last month. Last month also saw the launch of Jaihind, a South Indian channel, which will operate out of Dubai Studio City. The launch of Jaihind raises the number of Malayalam TV channels in the region to 14 – most of which have a presence in Dubai Media City.