DUBAI: Consumers in the Gulf subscribe to an average of three video-on-demand streaming services, according to a new report by global consultancy Oliver Wyman.
UAE audiences subscribe to the most VOD services at an average of 3.1 per person, followed by Saudi Arabia at 3 and Kuwait at 2.5.
In all three countries, less than a quarter of the respondents said they do not access any streaming service. This number was the lowest in the UAE at 12 percent and higher in Saudi Arabia at 20 percent and Kuwait at 22 percent.
Gulf consumers are among the most advanced in the world subscribing to an average of 2.9 services per person — second to the US where each person has an average of 4.7 subscriptions.
Moreover, the Gulf leads Europe and Canada where individuals have 2.6 and 2.8 subscriptions on average, respectively.
It is also the region that has the highest growth potential with 75 percent saying they expect to increase the number of VOD services they use compared with 37 percent in Europe and 29 percent in the US.
Within the Gulf, Saudi Arabia showed the highest appetite for growth among the 10 countries surveyed with 80 percent likely to increase subscriptions.
“This obviously represents a huge opportunity for streaming services in the country,” Nader Kobrosli, Oliver Wyman partner for communications, media and technology practice, told Arab News.
He attributed the growth potential in the Kingdom to “a general positive sentiment in the country, driven by the strong economic outlook and transformation” as well as the “young and digitally connected population, who will further drive the adoption of video streaming services in the future.”
In fact, the under-25 age group is the most likely to increase subscriptions, according to the survey.
“Despite having the lowest income bracket, under 25s are generally the first movers in the ‘shift to digital,’ so we expect them to continue to be the major driver of growth for video-on-demand subscriptions in the GCC,” Kobrosli added.
The Oliver Wyman Global Household Media survey canvassed more than 13,500 people in 10 countries: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the US.
LOS ANGELES: Golden Globes television ratings slumped to a new low of just 6.3 million viewers, even as the troubled award show tried to bounce back from its recent scandals, broadcaster NBC’s preliminary figures showed Wednesday.
The audience on Tuesday night fell from 6.9 million in 2021 — itself a massive drop suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, when award shows were held remotely — and was down from more than 18 million in 2020.
The Globes were not televised at all last year, when NBC pulled the plug due to outrage over the lack of diversity and alleged ethical shortcomings of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which organizes the awards.
Tuesday’s ratings — the lowest ever for a full Golden Globes gala on NBC, and marginally higher than the audience for a stripped-down press conference held to announce winners during the Hollywood writers’ strike in 2008 — will add to uncertainty over the Globes’ future.
The event has no television deal currently in place from next year. NBC tore up its longstanding multi-year Globes broadcast deal, and only agreed to bring back this year’s show on a one-off basis.
Still, the 80th Golden Globes on Tuesday night saw many A-list stars return to the event’s Beverly Hills gala, with Steven Spielberg winning best director, Colin Farrell collecting best actor in a comedy, and Eddie Murphy receiving a lifetime achievement award.
While the presence of so many stars suggested many in Hollywood are happy with the reforms the HFPA has recently enacted — including the admission of Black members, after a Los Angeles Times expose revealed the group had none — questions remain.
A plan by US billionaire Todd Boehly to spin off the awards show into a for-profit entity and pay salaries to members has raised eyebrows.
And several prominent winners did not attend on Tuesday, citing scheduling difficulties, including Cate Blanchett, who best actress in a drama for “Tar.”
In an email to AFP, an NBC spokesman pointed out that the “Globes historically airs on Sunday nights,” when ratings are usually higher, and in previous years benefited from following an NFL game on the channel.
The awards were moved to a Tuesday evening slot this year to avoid clashing with the wildly popular American football league.
Updated final figures including ratings from streaming platform Peacock, which also showed the Globes live on Tuesday, will be issued at a later date.
Live television ratings have slumped generally for awards show in recent years, as younger audiences in particular change the way they consume entertainment, gravitating more toward social media and streaming.
But the Oscars last March bounced back significantly from their pandemic slump, recording over 16 million US viewers, up from around 10 million a year earlier.
At Tuesday night’s Globes, Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” was named best drama and “The Banshees of Inisherin,” starring Farrell, won best comedy.
DUBAI: Rotana Music Group and TikTok have signed a licensing agreement for the short-form video app to access Rotana’s catalog of Arab music. Its portfolio includes prominent artists such as Mohammed Abdo, Abdul Majeed Abdullah, Rabeh Saqer, Amr Diab, Elissa, Tamer Hosny and Najwa Karam.
“The creative culture in (the Middle East and North Africa) is so vibrant and diverse, and this agreement will enhance the exchange of music content while promoting and supporting local artists on a proven leading platform for short-form videos,” said Rotana CEO Salem Al-Hendi.
Hari Nair, head of music for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia at TikTok, said: “Rotana Music Group represents some of the greatest names in music, spanning multiple genres and countries, and we know our community will be inspired by this repertoire for their own video creations.”
TikTok is “committed to licensing and ensuring a broad, diverse range of sounds in our library for our global community to enjoy,” Nair added.
DUBAI: Ali Rez, the chief creative officer at Dubai’s Impact BBDO for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan region, is to be jury president for Print & Publishing at The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The names of the jury presidents have been announced for the event’s 70th edition, and Rez’s appointment is the first time an industry member from the MENA region has served in the role.
Rez said: “The UAE is a place where creativity thrives, and where we believe nothing is impossible.
“It is a special honor to represent that very spirit of this inspiring country, and the rich heritage of the Middle East, at Cannes Lions as jury president.
“I hope this announcement will pave the way for many more people from the region to lead juries in the future at this most prestigious of awards.”
Each award category has a jury president, who will lead the panel of judges to award the shortlisted entries.
The jury presidents “represent the rich spread of exceptional talent from across the full spectrum of the creative industry,” said Simon Cook, CEO of Cannes Lions.
He added that they “play an essential role in upholding the integrity” of the body “as well as setting the creative benchmark for the global industry.”
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity takes place from June 19-23 and provides an annual forum for the global industry to address its most pressing issues.
Registration to attend the event opens on Jan. 12 and awards submissions open on Jan. 19.
This year’s jury presidents are:
Brand Experience & Activation: Ari Weiss, global chief creative officer, DDB Worldwide.
Creative B2B: Tom Stein, chairman and chief growth officer, Stein IAS.
Creative Business Transformation: Justin Peyton, chief transformation officer, Wunderman Thompson, APAC.
Creative Commerce: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, chief creative officer, FCB, Canada.
Creative Data: Samantha Hernandez Diaz, chief strategy officer, GUT Mexico City, Mexico.
Creative Effectiveness: Devika Bulchandani, global CEO, Ogilvy.
Creative Strategy: Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Publicis Groupe, Singapore & Southeast Asia.
Design: Quinnton Harris, co-founder and CEO, Retrospect, US.
Digital Craft: Resh Sidhu, global director of Arcadia Creative Studio, Snap Inc.
Direct: Chaka Sobhani, global chief creative officer, Leo Burnett.
Entertainment: Brent Anderson, global chief creative officer, TBWAMedia Arts Lab.
Entertainment Lions for Gaming: Francine Li, global head of marketing, Riot Games.
Entertainment Lions for Music: Danielle Hinde, owner/executive producer, Doomsday Entertainment, US.
Entertainment Lions for Sport: Rob Doubal, co-president of McCann London and joint chief creative officer of McCann UK.
Film: Bruno Bertelli, global CEO of Le Pub, global chief creative officer of Publicis Worldwide, chief creative officer of Publicis Groupe Italy.
Glass Lions: The Lion for Change: Tea Uglow, creative director, Google, APAC.
Health & Well-ness: Mel Routhier, chief creative officer, VMLY&R Chicago.
Industry Craft: Yoshihiro Yagi, executive creative director, Dentsu Inc., Japan.
Innovation: Grace Francis, global chief creative and design officer, WONGDOODY.
Media: Christian Juhl, global CEO, GroupM.
Mobile: Shannon Washington, US chief creative officer, Connected Communications, R/GA.
Outdoor: Javier Campopiano, worldwide chief creative officer at Grey and global chief creative officer of OpenX from WPP, Grey/OpenX.
Pharma: Joshua Prince, CEO, Professional Group, Omnicom Health Group.
PR: Jo-ann Robertson, CEO, Global Markets, Ketchum.
Print & Publishing: Ali Rez, chief creative officer, Impact BBDO, MENAP.
Radio & Audio: Tseliso Rangaka, chief creative officer, FCB, South Africa.
Social & Influencer: Samantha Almeida, director of diversity and content innovation, Globo, Brazil.
Sustainable Development Goals: Jean Lin, chief culture officer, Dentsu Group Inc.
Dan Wieden Titanium: David Droga, CEO and creative chairman, Accenture Song.
DUBAI: The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has warned France and the editors of Charlie Hebdo magazine that they may face the same fate as Salman Rushdie after the magazine published more cartoons mocking Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Rushdie has received death threats since the 1980s when he published his controversial book “The Satanic Verses.”
He spent nearly 10 years in hiding as the book sparked outrage in Islamic countries, and in 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini, then supreme leader of Iran, issued a fatwa — an Islamic ruling — ordering Muslims to kill the author.
Rushdie was stabbed last year at a literary festival in New York, where he sustained severe injuries.
“I advise the French and directors of the Charlie Hebdo magazine to take a look at the fate of Salman Rushdie,” said Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, according to Iran’s Mehr News Agency on Tuesday.
“Do not play with Muslims. Salman Rushdie insulted the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet of Islam 30 years ago and hid in dangerous places.”
Charlie Hebdo last week published the winning cartoons in a competition that called for people around the world to draw the most offensive caricatures of the ayatollah as an act of support toward the protest movement in Iran.
The publication of the cartoons has resulted in increased animosity between Iran and France, with the former closing down the French Institute for Research.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry called the closure of the institute a “first step” in response to the cartoons, and said it would “seriously pursue the case and take the required measures” to hold France accountable.
In the face of these threats, the satirical magazine doubled down and published a magazine cover that mocks Iran again this week. The cover depicts mullahs entering and exiting a naked woman’s womb while her legs are splayed. “It took us a week to find the exit,” reads the caption.
An editorial inside described the cyberattack on Charlie Hebdo’s website after the publication of the special edition last week, which the magazine is investigating but said was “highly likely” to have been carried out by Iran.
The editorial read: “A computer attack does not cause deaths, but it sets the tone.
“The mullahs’ regime would feel so in danger that it would consider it vital for its existence to hack the site of a French newspaper.
“It is an honor but above all proof that their power feels very fragile.”
DUBAI: Ledger, a leading organization offering digital storage for cryptocurrencies, has partnered with Arts DAO, a NFT and Web3 community in the Middle East, to provide hardware wallet solutions for the latter’s UAE-based members.
Art DAO is a collector’s decentralized autonomous organization and Web3 business that focuses on two pillars: community and consulting.
Ledger was founded in 2014 in France by eight specialists with backgrounds in embedded security, cryptocurrency, and entrepreneurship, to develop secure solutions for blockchain applications.
The company has sold over 5 million devices around the world and is responsible for securing 20 percent of all crypto assets stored globally.
To celebrate the partnership, the two companies launched “100 Ledger NFTs,” marking Ledger’s first such collection. Arts DAO also provided community members with branded ledgers, allowing NFT owners to claim a physical Ledger hard wallet.
Cryptocurrencies have garnered a bad reputation due to the illegal activities of some exchanges, most notably FTX.
“Following the crash of FTX, more and more people realized that centralized exchanges are not flawless, and assets can easily be lost if you do not take custody of your crypto yourself,” Danosch Zahedi, co-founder of Arts DAO, told Arab News.
Similarly, Celsius Network, a crypto lender, landed in trouble earlier this month, after a US bankruptcy judge ruled that the company owns most of the cryptocurrency that customers deposited into its online platform, meaning most Celsius customers will be last in line for repayment.
“These two major news stories have reinforced the importance that, if you believe in decentralization and decentralized finance, then keeping your cryptocurrencies in self-custody through ‘cold storage’ or hardware wallets is the safest method,” Zahedi explained.
When someone buys a cryptocurrency, they receive a private key, which is a piece of data required to approve transactions on the blockchain. Anyone with access to the key can use the funds, which is why Arts DAO advises consumers to use a hardware solution such as one offered by Ledger.
When the private key is stored offline in a hardware wallet, it cannot be accessed online, which means that if, for example, an individual’s computer is hacked, the hacker won’t be able to access the private key, and therefore their crypto assets.
“As we say in crypto, ‘Not your keys, not your crypto,’ which refers to the lack of a private seed-phrase or key-phrase which grants you access to your cold storage,” Zahedi added.
Following illegal activities in the crypto space, regulatory authorities are working on solutions to secure the growing industry.
For example, the UAE’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority has started to collect information about all crypto entities in the country, and requires the self-disclosure of all activities.
“This disclosure is one step in the process for regulatory bodies to better map out the various entities in the crypto and digital assets space, and it is the first step to better regulate and help support these companies to do business in a controlled environment where hopefully future scandals like the ones we’ve recently seen can be prevented,” said Zahedi.
Regulation is critical given the UAE’s investment in Web3, which Zahedi believes is here to stay.
“To say that NFTs or other Web 3 technologies are a fad is to renounce the technology as a whole, and the revolutionizing properties it brings,” he said.
“NFTs had a good run within the digital art space and are now a multibillion-dollar industry,” but the future, he said, lies in the tokenization of assets. “Almost any physical asset can be tokenized through an NFT, which enables the unlocking of liquidity in traditional assets that were previously considered illiquid,” he explained.
Still, the industry is in its nascent stages with a few early adopters, and there is some time to go until it reaches mass adoption. However, when it does, it will be as ubiquitous as smartphones today.
By the time the industry reaches mass adoption, Zahedi said, “the barrier to entry will be so low and seamless, that most people will not even notice that they own a NFT.”