Discop Launches Dubai Market, Reflecting Middle East Pay-TV Boom

In a further indication of the pay-TV boom underway in the Middle East and North Africa, a large-scale Discop Dubai TV content market is being launched by Basic Lead, the Los Angeles-based trade show organization that already runs branded Discop marts for the global industry in Africa, Turkey and Eastern Europe.

The inaugural three-day edition of Discop Dubai will run January 29-31, 2017. The market will target countries from the Middle East, North Africa, the Gulf and the Asian subcontinent, including India. Organizers are expecting more than 1,500 attendees to descend upon Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah resort, the same venue where the Dubai Film Festival is held.

The Dubai Film Festival, in December, includes what is arguably the only bona-fide film market in the Middle East.

The new Discop Dubai TV market is being launched amid a double- digit increase in pay-TV households in the areas it targets.

According to a report issued last month by London-based firm IHS, the number of pay-TV households in the Middle East and North Africa grew in 2015 by 10% to 4.95 million. This prompted a 37% year-on-year revenue rise from subscriptions to 1.17 billion euros ($ 1.33 billion) last year.

IHS forecasts that pay-TV subscribers in the MENA region will steadily continue to grow in coming years, reaching 6.54 million pay-TV households by 2020, which represents a more than 30% growth margin. During this period revenues are expected to double to more than 2 billion euros.

That’s still a relatively low number considering that, also according to IHS, in 2015 there were 16.6 million pay-TV households in the U.K., by far Europe’s most mature pay-TV market. Still, the MENA region pay-TV boom is not negligible, and Dubai is playing a significant role in this process.

“Dubai is fast becoming one of the television’s industry most important regional hubs,” Basic Lead said in a statement, adding that there are “more than 135 international, regional and local TV channels presently transmitting from UAE in Arabic, English, Farsi, Hindi, Urdu and other languages.”

Discop Dubai is aiming to attract “global and local suppliers of popular television content, public and private broadcasters, advertising agencies, brand managers and airtime buyers, alongside pay-TV, satellite and mobile operators, independent producers, and alternative online distribution platforms,” the statement said.

The idea is to combine a classic market concept comprising premiere screenings of new Ramadan shows with international formats and high-end TV series,  and presentations from industry innovators and events hosted by the Emirates’ top media enterprises.

The launch of Discop Dubai is likely to modify the territorial focus of the Discop Istanbul market, which has in past years catered to the MENA region, besides Turkey and Israel.

During the 2015 edition of Discop Istanbul, tensions emerged between Arab and Israeli participants when a panel of Arab judges refused to listen to format pitches from one of Israel’s top production companies. That may have played a part in Basic Lead deciding to branch out with a separate Dubai Discop.

“With viewers watching more TV now than ever before, regional co-productions and the trade in adaptation rights continues to contribute significantly to the rapid increase in international sales,” the statement quoted Discop founder Patrick Zuchowicki as saying.

“Discop Dubai, as all other Discop markets, will once again accompany that trend and open doors in new marketplaces that are still difficult to reach,” he added.


Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: 'American Horror Story' Makes 'Suddenly Last Summer' Sizzle Again

    FX Network’s “American Horror Story” returns for a ninth season next month, and promos for the next chapter of the anticipated series, dubbed ‘AHS 1984,’ have been airing frequently across cable television throughout August. In the short yet effective spot (see below), the Motels’ melancholic, moody “Suddenly Last Summer” plays as aerial footage of an [...]

  • Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star

    Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star in Multi-Camera Comedy Series for Netflix

    Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps are headed to Netflix. The streamer has ordered a multi-camera comedy series starring the two comedians titled “The Upshaws.” The series centers on a working-class Africian American family in Indiana struggling to make it work and make it right without the blueprints to do it. Sykes will executive produce and [...]

  • Vader Streams Shuts Down

    Vader Streams Shut Down by Hollywood Studios

    A coalition of Hollywood studios and streaming companies announced on Tuesday that they have shut down Vader Streams, which was once a popular source of pirated TV content. The service went offline in early May under mysterious circumstances, leading to speculation that the operator had either absconded or been forced out of business. The Alliance [...]

  • Søren-Sveistrup

    Netflix Teams With 'The Killing' Creator for Crime Thriller 'The Chestnut Man'

    HAUGESUND, Norway  — Further expanding its Scandinavian footprint, Netflix has announced its second Danish original series, “The Chestnut Man,” a police thriller based on “The Killing” creator Søren Sveistrup’s popular novel. The streaming giant will team with Sveistrup’s SAM Productions, minority owned by Studiocanal, part of Vivendi Canal Plus Group, to deliver this noir-influenced literary [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    ICM Blasts Writers Guild Over Withdrawal of State Lawsuit

    ICM Partners has slammed the leaders of the Writers Guild of America over its decision to withdraw from its state court lawsuit in favor of refiling the action in federal court. The agency, which was sued in April by the guild and eight WGA members over charging allegedly illegal packaging fees, issued a statement Tuesday [...]

  • succession

    'Succession' Renewed for Season 3 at HBO

    “Succession” has scored an early Season 3 renewal at HBO. The news comes as the critically-acclaimed drama series is just two episodes into its second season. Season 1 of the series was recently nominated for five Emmy Awards, including for best drama series. “We are elated that ‘Succession’ and its exploration of wealth, power and [...]

  • Kaley CuocoHilarity for Charity Sixth Annual

    Kaley Cuoco HBO Max Series 'The Flight Attendant' Sets Creative Team

    The creative team set to bring Kaley Cuoco’s dark comedy series “The Flight Attendant” to HBO Max has taken shape. The series, which tells the terrifying story of a flight attendant (Cuoco) who wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man and no idea what happened, has tapped Susanna [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content