Saudi content material creator solutions most-searched questions on AI in new sequence

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DUBAI: Spending by Muslims on media and recreation reached $231 billion in 2021 and is forecast to develop to $308 billion by 2025, in accordance with the “State of the World Islamic Financial system 2022” report. It additionally revealed that Saudi Arabia ranks fourth within the sector amongst Muslim shopper markets.

Because the trade grows, streaming service Qalbox goals to be on the forefront amongst Islamic audiences. Launched in October 2022, it’s a subscription-based video-on-demand service providing Muslim-friendly content material for viewers of all ages.

A part of the favored Muslim Professional app, the Qalbox library contains documentaries akin to “A157” and “Imad’s Childhood,” function movies akin to “Sheida” and “Dayan,” in addition to TV exhibits and Qur’an recitations and supplications.

Content material for kids is a vital a part of the service, and managers say they’re investing in it by means of the availability of instructional exhibits such “Animal Tales from the Qur’an” and “Let’s Make Peace,” in addition to the unique sequence “Islam for Youngsters.” 

“Our platform isn’t only for leisure that matches the life-style of a Muslim,” Nafees Khundker, the managing director of Qalbox and Muslim Professional’s mum or dad firm, Bitsmedia, advised Arab Information.

“It’s a celebration of the range and creativity inside the Muslim world, aiming to attach individuals with their heritage and one another in a significant approach.”

Qalbox mentioned its prime market within the Center East is Saudi Arabia, adopted by the UAE, Qatar, Lebanon and Kuwait. It additionally stories a constant rise in subscriptions and engagement since launch, because of which it has expanded its content material library by 268 %.

Khundker mentioned that in Saudi Arabia and the UAE particularly, the Qalbox viewers is predominantly made up of younger adults between the ages of 25 and 34 with a “rising urge for food for content material that blends conventional narratives with modern storytelling.”

He added: “Per the intensive smartphone utilization and high-speed web entry in these areas, a powerful 92 % of our customers within the UAE and Saudi Arabia interact with Qalbox content material by means of our cellular app.”

Customers typically watch content material on the app near each day prayers, which suggests they “are integrating the service into their each day spiritual practices,” he mentioned.

The corporate stories a major surge in demand for instructional and spiritually enriching content material, with faith-based content material rising as the most well-liked style in 2023, particularly throughout more-religious months, akin to Ramadan.

Viewing habits shift in the course of the holy month, with better engagement on each Muslim Professional and Qalbox, mentioned Khundker. In consequence, Qalbox is creating a wider array of faith-based programming for Ramadan. This contains instructional content material to deepen the understanding of religion and spirituality, in addition to sources specializing in psychological well being and well-being, in step with the reflective nature of the holy month.

Qalbox additionally plans to host group classes in the course of the month, and provide content material in different codecs akin to podcasts, webinars and animations.

“Our goal is to supply a holistic and immersive expertise that resonates with the religious and communal points of Ramadan, making Qalbox a companion in our viewers’ journey by means of this holy month,” mentioned Khundker.

After all, Muslim audiences within the Center East should not solely taken with Islamic content material. Hollywood blockbusters and Turkish dramas are additionally notably widespread within the area. For instance, director Christopher Nolan’s movie “Oppenheimer” set a file for the variety of advance cinema tickets bought within the nation throughout 2023.

Reputation subsequently “guides our content material curation,” mentioned Khundker. “We attempt to supply a variety of content material that appeals to those various pursuits, whereas additionally staying true to our core mission of offering Muslim-centric leisure.”

The platform is however conscious of providing “not solely mainstream genres but additionally area of interest content material” that resonates with its viewers, he added.

Lower than 10 % of the 200 top-grossing movies launched between 2017 and 2019 featured a Muslim character, in accordance with the 2021 report “Lacking and Maligned: The Actuality of Muslims in Widespread World Motion pictures.”

It additionally discovered that though Muslims account for about 24 % of the worldwide inhabitants, only one % of characters on TV exhibits are Muslim.

The research prompted the launch of the “Blueprint for Muslim Inclusion,” developed by British Muslim actor Riz Ahmed in partnership with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the Ford Basis and the Pillars Fund. Initiatives akin to this, and the expansion of streaming platforms akin to Qalbox, might assist to handle this lack of Muslim illustration within the leisure trade.

“What units Qalbox aside is our dedication to nurturing and showcasing Muslim filmmakers and artists by means of its originals,” Khundker mentioned.