Saudi unveils $1.1bn programme for digital content creation, media production
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Saudi unveils $1.1bn programme for digital content creation, media production

Saudi unveils $1.1bn programme for digital content creation, media production

The ‘Ignite’ initiative will offer several incentives such as financial support for local, regional and international companies and startups

Saudi Arabia has announced Ignite, a new programme for digital content creation and media production, that aims to triple the kingdom’s digital content market size in gaming, audio, video and advertising.

The programme is backed by a $1.1bn investment and will include incentives such as financial support for local, regional and international companies and startups; infrastructure development; talent development programmes and improved policy and regulations to enable the sector to grow rapidly.

The announcement was made by the Digital Content Council on day two of LEAP22, the global technology platform currently taking place in Riyadh. The council said that the initiative will transform the kingdom into a leading digital entertainment and media production hub, a statement said.

Training courses will be available across three sectors – gaming, films and digital ads, to upskill over 4,400 participants in the next three years. The move will ensure the country is developing the skillsets required by the industry as well as giving the local youth requisite skills.

The programme will also supplement the film fund, which will be allocated to the infrastructure, development, production and distribution of locally produced movies, and another fund which will focus on gaming to develop games and build the required infrastructure such as game studios.

To further attract local and international partners to Ignite, Saudi Arabia will also enhance intellectual property protection measures. International and local partners will be able to benefit from an investor’s ‘one stop shop’ that will streamline the process for investment into the Saudi digital content economy.

At the event, the kingdom also launched WiFi 6E, supported by the largest amount of spectrum available for WiFi of any country worldwide. The combination of technology and record amount of spectrum will allow Saudi to benefit from the fastest achievable WiFi speeds globally (2.4 Gbps). Enabling this advanced connectivity is expected to quadruple WiFi’s overall contribution to Saudi Arabia’s GDP rising from $4.7bn in 2021 to more than $18bn by 2030.

The WiFi upgrade is to be accompanied by other connectivity-boosting initiatives, including the first regional trial of low earth orbit (LEO) satellite technology to extend reliable coverage to remote areas of the Saudi. CITC will also hold a frequency auction during the first half of this year, a development which is likely to place the kingdom first globally for spectrum available to fifth-generation (5G) networks and mobile communications. The contribution of 5G technology to GDP is expected to increase from $1.4bn in 2021 to more than $15bn by 2030.

The event also unveiled a new partnership that will see Trend Micro open its regional Middle East & Africa headquarters (HQ) in Riyadh. The HQ has facilities including an executive briefing centre, a learning and innovation centre, meeting rooms and community gathering spaces as well as many other facilities for the benefit of the entire cybersecurity ecosystem.

Trend Micro also announced a security data lake, and other investments in Saudi Arabia totaling over $50m. A security data lake is a centralised repository aimed at maintaining and managing all log or other data sources relevant to an organisation’s security posture. It provides a single place for security data to be housed, parsed, searched and utilised.

The company also announced the establishment of a centre of excellence for cybersecurity expert advisory resources in the kingdom and will develop services and initiatives to help businesses improve their cybersecurity, and create programmes that will help raise awareness of cybersecurity and online safety issues for families.

Read: In pics: Day two at Saudi’s global technology platform LEAP22

Also read: LEAP22: Saudi Arabia unveils over $6.4bn in technology and startup investments

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