MENA cinema market cracks $500 million revenue mark, finds PwC

22 October 2018 3 min. read

Ahead of the upcoming MENA Cinema Forum in Dubai, event partner PwC has calculated local box office revenues to have broken the $500 million mark.

As the official Knowledge Partner of the inaugural MENA Cinema Forum to be held in Dubai over the 28th and 29th of October, PwC has ahead of the event shared its research finding on the size of the MENA regional market, concluding a box office take last year in excess of $500 million. The Big Four firm will present its full research at the event, which will see up to 450 industry delegates gather from across the world to discuss market opportunities and challenges.

The detailed research looked into the current state of the local market and its future growth prospects, with the over $3.5 billion to be invested in the Gulf on cinema screens by 2030 and the opening up of the Saudi market driving a bullish outlook. Altogether, PwC notes that the number of screens across the region will increase by well over a third within the next 3 to 5 years, jumping from a current 1,300 to 1,800 by 2023.

MENA cinema market cracks $500 million revenue mark, finds PwC

“There is a strong growth pipeline of new cinemas in the region, primarily driven by the opening of Saudi Arabian market,” PwC’s Global Deals Real Estate Leader Martin Berlin said, adding that the next the biggest opportunities will come “sophisticated pricing mechanisms where cinema operators offer price differentiations based on particular timings and days – to help increase box office revenues. Additionally, premium screening is another way of optimising revenues.”

Building with the next generation of technology in mind, digital market disruption, and accommodating audience diversity and unique requirements are among the topics to be discussed at the two-day conference, which will feature over 45 guest speakers, as well as much discussion centred on the effects of the reemergence of the Saudi market, which with the help of strategy firm BCG this year re-opened to the public after 35 years.

“The Saudi Government anticipates 300 cinemas will open by 2030, contributing US$24 billion to the economy and creating 30,000 jobs,” said Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of the MENA cinema conference promoter Great Mind Event Management. “The opening of the cinema industry in Saudi Arabia – the largest Arab economy – is a game-changer that is opening new windows for foreign investors and cinema operators to offer the best experience to the upwardly mobile young men and women in the Kingdom.”

While the $500 million revenue haul in the Middle East and North Africa represents just a fraction of the estimated $40 billion in global takings last year, and the growth to 1,800 screens in the coming years just a drop on the 150,000 worldwide, the local market is projected by PwC to grow at 7.4 percent to an overall worth of $35 billion, up from just $26.4 billion in 2016 – representing one of the fastest growth markets in the world.