30 Seconds On The Business Of Animation

Gulf Business speaks to Ghassan Ayoubi, executive director – Gulf Region at Rubicon Group Holding (RGH).



What is the current state of the Middle East’s animation sector?

Considering the industry is still relatively young within the region, we have seen huge growth in the sector over the years. The region is now attracting work from overseas, whereas previously work would be subcontracted to India, South Africa and the Far East. So growth is coming from a grass roots level.

How does the regional industry compare to places like Japan and the US?

I believe we are beginning to challenge countries like Japan and the US as we are now exporting our own content globally. For instance, at RGH we are producing Postman Pat: The Movie in collaboration with Classic Media in the UK. Partnerships like these will allow the region to continue to grow within the sector and allow our work to be distributed to a global audience.

Does the region require more local animation series?

The region is presently experiencing unprecedented demand for Arabic content within children’s entertainment, especially when you take into account the shortage of characters in the Middle East when compared to the Americas, Europe or Japan.

Are there adequate opportunities to develop and promote local talent in the sector?

We have seen vast improvements in talent and facilities in the region. I think there is a need to focus on the number of courses that are available within the industry that will train animators in a variety of disciplines that are constantly evolving, such as 2D and 3D.

What is your outlook for the regional animation industry?

The industry will continue to grow from strength to strength, as the need for Arabic-language content continues. The longer term goal is that one day, children in Europe, America or Asia might grow up watching Arab-created shows dubbed in English, rather than the other way round.