Time-Warner eyeing bigger presence in Saudi Arabia, says CNN’s Rani Raad after meeting with Crown Prince

Rani Raad, President, CNN International Commercial & MD for Turner Middle East. (Supplied)
Updated 05 April 2018

Time-Warner eyeing bigger presence in Saudi Arabia, says CNN’s Rani Raad after meeting with Crown Prince

  • Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been on a royal tour since the beginning of March that has taken him to Egypt, the UK and the US
  • During his visit to the US, he has had meetings with Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, as well as Bill Gates

London: Time-Warner wants to bring more of its brands to Saudi Arabia, a top network executive told Arab News after a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The crown prince met with the US newscaster's regional president during his tour of the US where he met several other top US business leaders.
“It was a pleasure to spend time with the crown prince exchanging views and ideas around collaboration in the media sector across the Kingdom and beyond,” said Rani Raad, President, CNN International Commercial & MD for Turner Middle East..  
A slew of economic and social reforms is attracting intense interest from global media groups drawn to the country’s media-hungry youthful demographic.
Bloomberg is also boosting its presence in the Kingdom.
It has announced plans to provide financial training to young Saudis in universities as well as those already employed in companies.
The tie-up followed a meeting between Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg and the crown prince in New York.
The non-profit MiSK Foundation, established by the crown prince to empower Saudi youth to work in the knowledge economy, is also helping to attract media interest in the Kingdom.
“We look forward to working with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the future on many mutually beneficial initiatives and bringing more of our brands to the burgeoning Saudi market,” said Raad, who led the Time Warner delegation.
He reiterated that the visit comes “on the back of the strong partnership we have developed with MiSK.”

- Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly said 'CNN is eyeing a bigger presence in Saudi Arabia.' This has been corrected and updated to say 'Time-Warner' as the headline now currently suggests. 

Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

Updated 24 February 2020

Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

  • MBC Group to support young film makers with training from industry professionals

LONDON: Young Arab film makers will have the opportunity to have their work showcased at next month’s Red Sea International Film Festival as investment in Saudi cinema gathers pace.

The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced a partnership with MBC Group, which will also broadcast the event’s opening ceremony on March 12.

As part of the deal, MBC Al Amal, MBC’s corporate social responsibility arm, will hold a Shorts pitch competition.

Ten short film projects will be selected from Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, with filmmakers being given a one-day workshop to prepare for a pitching session. 

Italian director and producer Stefano Tealdi will train the candidates to strengthen their skills and give them tips for better pitches, MBC said.

“We strongly believe that this new generation of talent is key in influencing change and creating the difference to the region’s media and entertainment content landscape, which of course includes independent film and mainstream cinema,” said Peter Smith, managing director of MBC Studios.

The region’s biggest broadcaster will also host talent days on March 17 and 18 to support Saudi scriptwriters, directors and producers.

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival takes place March 12-21 in Jeddah Old Town, under the theme “Changing the Script.” It aims to support and help grow Saudi Arabia’s emerging film industry which is attracting a slew of investment from homegrown dramas shot in the Kingdom to the construction of cinemas countrywide.

Real estate broker CBRE estimates that 45 new cinemas are expected to open this year.

The boom in cinema construction coincides with a push to develop the domestic Saudi film industry.

That is being driven by both the big and small screen as video-on-demand players that include MBC, Netflix and Amazon compete to deliver content that speaks to a young Arab audience.