It's all about the money...

After closely scrutinising the agenda for IBC2014...
Roger Field is editor of Digital Studio Middle East magazine.
Roger Field is editor of Digital Studio Middle East magazine.

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After closely scrutinising the agenda for IBC2014, I am genuinely excited about attending, especially given the calibre of the speakers at the conference, the compelling debates, and the sheer volume and quality of companies exhibiting.

Some of the technology that is due to be exhibited, and the industry challenges to be discussed, will make for a fascinating show. Speaking of challenges, there are many, and it’s interesting to note that in the Middle East some of these challenges have been addressed by the industry in the past few months.

One issue is a general shortage of skilled production crew. It’s an issue that is broached a number of times in the September edition of Digital Studio. Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of Abu Dhabi’s media production zone, twofour54, discusses steps that her company is taking to help equip young people for a career in the film and TV production industry. Also check out Breaking the Barriers on page 42, which includes insights from four industry insiders about issues that are potentially holding the production industry back in the region.

One aspect of this industry that nobody can dispute is the need for funding – and plenty of it. Making quality productions is not cheap and relies on healthy investment that stems from various sources, such as advertising, subscription fees, box office earnings or other private investment. In the Middle East, two of these streams – subscriptions and advertising – have suffered owing to piracy and a lack of audience measurement. But thankfully, these issues are now being addressed.

The industry demonstrated that it was pulling together to tackle piracy. It’s great to see the region’s Broadcast Satellite Anti-Piracy Coalition gathering pace and taking some real and definitive measures against piracy which – let’s face it – robs the industry of the ability to invest in content and the type of new innovations on display at IBC.

In the UAE, the Emirates Media Measurement Company (EMMC) is also driving forward with its people-meter initiative and refining the way in which it generates data (see the September issue of Digital Broadcast, p14). This, further down the road, will also have a huge impact on the UAE’s broadcast and production industry by giving advertisers a greater ability to measure and monitor their investments.

Theoretically it should, over time, lead to far more investment in TV advertising in the UAE, which in turn should generate more money for producing world-class content. It’s a virtuous cycle that stands to benefit the entire industry.

Roger Field is Editor of Digital Studio at ITP Business Publishing.

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