Manufacturers and distributors of professional cameras in the Middle East have predicted a general decline in business in the region in 2016, as broadcasters hold off making big investments.
Speaking at the revent Digital Studio Camera Steering Committee in Dubai, the participants all agreed that 2016 would likely prove tough in terms of professional camera sales.
Ragheed Rantisi, a sales manager at Dubai-based distributor Advanced Media, said that despite seeing strong sales growth in the past few years, the industry appears to be entering a phase of slower growth or even contraction. “In the past two years growth was there in the whole range of products. I think we have 25% growth in the business across the range, but I don’t have a good feeling about 2015 and 2016. The situation in our region is very difficult,” he said.
Khalid Sweidan, senior manager, FOR-A, also saw few reasons for optimism. “We are seeing massive slowdowns in the business across the board in the region due to political, and economic reasons. I am not usually a pessimist but I do not see 2016 being a great year for us,” he said.
Hassan Ghoul, managing director, Middle East, Grass Valley, said that some of these trends are related issues such as regional insecurity and to “limitations of budgets and capping of expenditures” at many broadcasters. He added that the rapid pace of development in technology was also making it difficult for broadcasters to make firm decisions on investments.
“Some of the broadcasters are taking a wait and see approach, but when it comes to cameras, quite frankly, there is a limit to how long they can wait because cameras are one of those products that will survive for their generation, but then they have to be upgraded,” he said.
Binoj Nair, marketing manager, imaging group at Canon Middle East, described the professional camera market in the Middle East and North Africa as “stagnant”. “Some figures say last year it was about 62,000 units shipped in the region and this year we are talking about 5-6% de-growth in forecasted, and this is an issue in the professional segment,” he said.