APG, a content production outfit, focuses mainly on the MENA region. Eros and APG will explore strategic and business opportunities in the film production, technology, and Web3 spaces, exclusively catering to the Indian entertainment industry. The two companies are already in the advanced stages of testing movie archive digitization and virtual location scouting technologies.
The partnership aims to tap into Vision 2030, the Saudi Arabian government’s strategic framework to move away from Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil to diversify its economy and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, media and tourism, which is driven by the country’s General Entertainment Authority.
Bollywood films have been playing well in Saudi ever since Akshay Kumar’s “Gold” became the first Bollywood title released in Saudi Arabia in 2018, shortly after its religion-related ban on cinemas was lifted in December of 2017.
As a part of Vision 2030, the Saudi Arabian government plans to transform its film industry into a major economic contributor by investing approximately $6.9 billion in the sector. Saudi Arabia has been encouraging its households to increase spending on cultural and entertainment activities, which has increased from 2.9% to 6% of GDP.
Abdulelah Alahmary, chair of Arabia Pictures Group, said: “The MENA region is keen for creative mediums such as arts and films to play a more prominent role in shaping the economy. This presents a great opportunity for us to use our combined strength and contribute to the sector’s growth. Collaborating in the East with Eros’ expertise in the new age Web3 and blockchain space gives us an edge, and I am certain that we will build an ecosystem that will transform the media and entertainment industry in the MENA region and beyond towards West.”
CEO Roua Almadani said: “We have always been aspiring to partner with India, the top entertainment creators in the world, and now the dream has come true. I’m proud of the strategic cooperation with Eros Media World PLC, which is the first of its kind in the Arab world. This cooperation will create various job opportunities in entertainment production and filmmaking as well as new discovering young talents in the film industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.”
Joint projects between Eros and APG will be revealed imminently.
Pradeep Dwivedi, group CEO Eros Media World, added: “Saudi Arabia is a strategic market for global organizations like Eros Media World. We aspire to be a frontrunner in not only getting a foothold in this burgeoning market but also contribute to the economy through our expertise. This partnership with Arabia Picture Group is significant as it allows us to understand the market and introduce new concepts and technologies that are crucial to the growth of the sector in the region. Cultural similarities between India and Saudi Arabia will help accelerate this process and create value for stakeholders.”
Sister company Eros Investments recently forged a strategic partnership with the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority to operate under its specialist Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority and enable the growth of the Web3 industry and its associated blockchain businesses from Dubai.
Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report.