Sourcing and Enjoyment of Films by Region

Those who watch films in the MENA region view content from a variety of regional sources, most commonly from their own country (60%). Many also watch films from the Mashreq-Levant countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, etc.), more so than from the Arab peninsula/Al Khaleej countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen) or the Maghreb countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, etc.) – 49%, 19% and 13%, respectively. After movies from the Arab region, viewed by 78% overall, the most frequently mentioned external source of content is, by far, the U.S. (47%). One-third of all film viewers watch films from India, but these are watched almost exclusively by Indians in the region (96%). One in four watches films from Europe; viewership of films from others region is much lower.

Local sourcing – that is, content from the viewer’s own country – is very strong in Egypt (99% watch at least some Egypt-sourced content in films), Lebanon (74%) and Tunisia (78%), is moderate in Saudi Arabia (57%) and the UAE (40%), and is low in Qatar (9%). Other Arab content is particularly strong among film-watchers in all countries except Qatar, where content from the U.S. (56%) and India (34%) is seen more than regional content. Indian-originating content is very marked in the UAE, the country with the highest Indian population. U.S. material is very common in Lebanon, where nearly three-quarters watch films from the U.S. (72%).  

Within Qatar and the UAE, there are pronounced differences in viewing by nationality. In Qatar, two-thirds of nationals and Arab expats watch films from the Arab world, compared with only one in ten Asian and Western expats. A majority of all groups living in Qatar watch films from the U.S., but viewership is highest among Western expats (86%). Westerners also are more likely to watch European films (51%). In the UAE, all nationals and Arab expats watch Arab films (84% of nationals say they watch UAE-produced films specifically), while almost no Western expats do. Interestingly, nationals and Arab expats in the UAE are more likely to watch U.S. films than Asian and Western expats (71% nationals, 80% Arab expats, 13% Asian expats and 43% Western expats).

Consistent with a higher level of viewership overall, Arab films and television are enjoyed more than films and television from other sources, with eight in ten residents in the MENA region responding expressing this preference (81%). Among films and television from other sources, U.S. (Hollywood) productions are most preferred (that is, cited as enjoyable the most often) by six in ten responding (60%), and Turkish, Indian (Bollywood) and European films and television achieve equal levels of enjoyment by about half of residents who responded (49%, 47% and 47%, respectively).

Egypt is the only country in which U.S. (Hollywood) films and television are not the most-enjoyed from outside the region. Egyptians enjoy Turkish, Indian (Bollywood) and European films and television more than those from the U.S. (Hollywood). Indian (Bollywood) films and television are well-liked in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the countries with high Asian expat populations.