Saudi Arabia has awarded the seventh license for operating cinemas to local company Next Generation, which aims to open six cinemas in the kingdom during 2019.
Minister of Information Turki Al Shabanah presented the license to Next Generation in the presence of the chairman of the General Authority for Audiovisual Media, Badr bin Hussein Al Zahrani. The company will be known by the name Muvi, and will be the first Saudi trademark, according to local newspaper Arab News.
The publication quoted Al Shabanah as saying: “The authority will be providing all facilities to local companies seeking to open cinemas, as it has re-engineered the procedures and reduced requirements for licensing.”
Next Generation is part of Fawaz AlHokair Group, and aims to open its first cinema in partnership with British chain The Light at Arab Mall in Jeddah. During 2019 the company plans to open six theatres with a total of 50 screens in Riyadh, Jeddah, and the Eastern Region.
In December 2017, Saudi Arabia announced that it would lift a 35-year-old ban on cinemas, with the first movies in almost four decades being screened last year.
Around 2,600 cinemas are expected to be open across Saudi Arabia by 2030 as part of the country’s Vision 2030 diversification plan, which includes plans to develop the kingdom’s leisure and entertainment sector. Research last year by PwC Middle East showed that revenues from those cinemas could reach $1.5bn by 2030.