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30 Seconds On The Business Of… The GCC’s Entertainment Industry

30 Seconds On The Business Of… The GCC’s Entertainment Industry

Gulf Business speaks to Ali Haidary, CEO of Sports and Entertainment Solutions.

Where does the GCC’s entertainment industry currently stand in comparison to global markets?

In the last 10 years, the sophistication and choice on offer has excelled, with a diverse selection of world-class entertainment shows and events catering to the region’s multi-cultural audience. Global brands and productions enter the GCC through Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Muscat. The consumer appetite for these shows is increasing and we are seeing productions staged in this region of the same standard audiences can expect to see in Las Vegas and London.

What are the main drivers of growth?

Growth in entertainment is being driven by buoyancy in the economy in general, as well as other, non-economic factors that are behaviourally and culturally driven.

UAE businesses have renewed confidence in event sponsorship, now recognising the value and benefits that event sponsorship can bring into the business.

We are also seeing an increasing trend amongst expats and locals alike to be more ‘culturally curious’ – that means trying new things and discovering new activities. The GCC audience values diversity, from high-brow arts events to all-inclusive family-friendly entertainment.

Along with international events, is the local industry picking up as well?

We’ve seen the local arts and events scene really gather pace in recent years, with even more grassroots initiatives and community groups performing in music, dance and theatre. The local industry is still involved in entertainment at a predominantly amateur, or non-profit, level, but the quality of talent, production, design and passion is first-rate.

What are the main challenges in this market?

The challenges of staging full-scale, world-class productions in this market are not enormously different to the challenges faced elsewhere in the world. They include transportation of props, backdrops and costumes and assembling and disassembling technically-advanced stage productions each time in a new space. There are, of course, certain considerations that we take into account when staging productions in this market, such as cultural appropriateness, which we closely assess in discussion with organisers.

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