Arabs wish for regional content while embracing Western TV

Rebecca Hawkes
| 05 May 2014
Increased programming portraying Arab culture and history is being craved by 65% of Middle East TV viewers, according to a new study by the Northwestern University in Qatar and the Doha Film Institute.

International content still benefits 66% of those surveyed, although over 70% would like greater regulation of romantic and violent content, according to the study, Entertainment Media Use in the Middle East.

Around 79% of respondents feel that more should be done to preserve cultural traditions, although 70% agree with the statement that more should be done to integrate their respective cultures with modern society.

The survey also showed that 49% of women and 31% of men in the Arab world ‘binge watch’ TV series with two or more episodes being consumed in one sitting, whether online or on television.

“This study is the first of its kind in our region and we believe that the findings will be of great benefit to all sectors of the entertainment industry, from both a commercial and cultural standpoint,” said Abdul Aziz Al Khater, CEO, Doha Film Institute.

“What we see from these numbers is a growing demand for locally generated entertainment. The findings reinforce the idea that nurturing a thriving creative industry in our region is vital to enabling the creation of content that accurately reflects Arab culture.”

The findings come from 6,035 face-to-face interviews in nationally representative samples in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and the UAE. The interviews were conducted, in collaboration with Harris Poll, between 27 January and 26 February 2014.