Cinema market in KSA to be worth $1.5 bn by 2030

As the two day MENA Cinema forum concluded in Dubai, PwC presented its forecast of the MENA cinema industry
MENA Cinema Forum, Middle east cinema, Saudi Arabia cinema, Saudi Arabia, Middle East film, Film distribution, Middle east film production, Cinema exhibitor, Cinema distribution, Cinema screens, Front Row Filmed Entertainment

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Cinema revenue in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach $1.5bn (Dh5.5 billion) in 2030, according to research presented by PwC Middle East, at the two-day MENA Cinema Forum that concluded on October 29 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Dubai.

“By 2030, Saudi Arabia is expected to host 2,600 cinema screens that will entertain its growing population,” said Dr. Martin Berlin, Middle East Partner and Global Deals Real Estate Leader at PwC Middle East in his address to forum delegates.

“Based on global and regional benchmarks, we expect the KSA to accommodate between 300 and 370 cinema locations,” said Dr. Berlin, adding that the projections are based on a cinema-going population of 39.5 million by 2030, and 6.6 screens per 100,000 people.

“Based on pricing of $11 – $14 for lower end formats, and $40 for luxury formats, KSA could generate $950m in box office revenues by 2030. As other revenue streams typically account for 35% of overall revenues, this brings the total to US$1.5 billion,” added Dr Martin Berlin.

The Gulf region will see the development of more than 1,000 new cinema screens in the next three to five years, as developers and cinema operators announced massive investment plans at the first-ever MENA Cinema Forum. 

The MENA region currently has 1,300 cinema screens in operation and expects to add 1,000 cinema screens in the next five years, with the majority of the new screens to open in Saudi Arabia. Commenting on the industry, Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of Great Minds Events, organiser of the MENA Cinema Forum, said:“The cinema industry in the GCC is coming of age with Saudi Arabia – the largest Arab economy – opening the market means massive opportunity for all industry stakeholders,”

“Major cinema developers and operators have announced that they will add more than 1,000 new cinema screens in the next five years that will raise the number of screens from 1,300 to 2,300 by 2023. Saudi Arabia’s Development Investment Entertainment Company (DIEC) which is armed with a budget of SR10 billion for the development and expansion of the cinema screens across the Kingdom, is acting as a catalyst in the development of the cinema sector that is projected to directly contribute SR1 billion to the Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product (GDP).”

Also at the MENA Cinema Forum, a panel hosted by film business veteran Colin Brown, discussed the value chain of content from studio to screen, and its various distribution channels, as well as the future of film distribution in the region. The panel consisted of Gianluca Chakra, MD at Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Stan McCoy, President and Managing Director at Motion Picture Association EMEA, and Bassam Hajjawi, Owner, Near East Productions.

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