DICM 2023: Russian melodramas, docs, and animation experiment a big growth in MENA

Under ROSKINO umbrella, 16 Russian companies have presented almost 80 films, TV series, and animation projects at Dubai market.

11 DEC 2023

"Chaliapin" and "The Librarian"

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Russian film and animation companies continue negotiations on international sales of content and co-productions in MENA region. Under ROSKINO umbrella, 16 Russian companies have presented almost 80 films, TV series, and animation projects at Dubai International Content Market DICM 2023 that was held at the end of November.

Among the main results for Russian companies were the agreement to show the television series "Chaliapin" and a series of melodramas from Sovtelexport (Russia Television and Radio) on the Dubai TV channel; sales of more than 50 hours of animated series from SMF Animation to the fast growing Arab VOD platform 1001.tv; an agreement with a distributor from Azerbaijan on the sale of a documentary about the history of space exploration, "Space Dogs", from Odin Media; a preliminary agreement between the AP Entertainment and a Turkish company on joint film production; and an agreement with the largest African broadcaster from Tanzania, Azam Media, to launch a line of melodramas of Russia Television and Radio on their channel.

Art Pictures Distribution noted that in addition to the series "The Librarian", content buyers are interested in dramas and series and programs for family audiences like "Daddy’s Daughters", "Ivanovs vs Ivanovs", and programs and series from the Domashny TV channel. There was interest not only in the distribution of ready-made content, but also in the acquisition of format rights.

For Russia Television and Radio, DICM 2023 market was one of the most productive, primarily due to the expansion of the company’s catalog with a specially selected line of melodramas. This content was the most in demand in Dubai. Such large-scale projects as the costume television series "Chaliapin", "Elizaveta" and the new season of the historical saga Ekaterina—"Ekaterina: Favorites". Agreements have been reached with the Dubai TV channel on licensing the television series "Chaliapin" and a line of short melodramas: the agreement is already at the approval stage. Distributors from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Jordan are considering purchasing a package of documentaries about nature and space. An important meeting was with the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), which regulates all media resources in Pakistan. On their initiative, a meeting was held with the broadcasting company EMTEL Communication, at which the initial selection of content was made for the launch of the first documentary channel in Pakistan.The distributor Synpronize plans to show in India short melodramas and drama series from Russia Television and Radio in Tamil. The buyer of feature films for CCTV6 (China) is interested in purchasing the rights to the film "Elsa's Land." In addition, for the first time in Africa, the broadcaster Azam Media will show four-episode love melodramas from VGTRK on its channel. Representatives of Sovtelexport believe that an important aspect in developing cooperation with Arab countries is the focus of their multi-genre catalog on promoting traditional values.

The distribution company Odin Media has reached an agreement with an Azerbaijani company to sell the documentary about the history of space exploration, "Space Dogs." Other documentary series from Odin Media ("Mysteries of History 2", "Mysteries of Space 2", "The Secret History of Food") and detective dramas ("The Professor", "Psychic") were noted as having great audience potential in MENA according to distributors from the UAE, Lebanon, Turkey and Pakistan. Media companies from Turkey are also interested in historical dramas: "Zhukov", "The Hunt for Beria", and "Margarita Nazarova-Queen of the Tigers."

Thanks to meetings held at the DICM market, NTV Broadcasting company established relationships with local companies interested in the localization of NTV projects for Arab countries, which will expand NTV’s audiences in the future. The greatest interest from distributors, TV channels and VOD platforms was generated by the projects "Noble Detective", "Doctor Driver", "Double Life", "Hitman’s Curse", and others.

Planeta Inform Film Distribution discussed the possibilities of distribution in the UAE, India, China, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Lebanon of the feature films "Centaur", "Lost in the North", "Young Man", "I’m Losing Weight", and "The Elephant" as well as the company's documentary projects.

Russkoe film company said that "Torgsin.Trade House", a historical detective drama about the 1920s in the USSR, was its most popular project. Company representatives said that it is important to take into account the nuances of media content standards as there are many sensitive topics in the Middle East. While for North Africa, long running series are of interest.

AP Entertainment discussed co-production with Turkish studios; there was also a preliminary agreement between the AP Entertainment and a Turkish company on joint film production The company also negotiated with Turkey and India on the sale of rights to YouTube broadcasts.

Mars Media Entertainment presented "Master and Margarita", a new film adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel and other projects including "A Dog Named Palma", "The Prisoner", and "The Northern Lights". Negotiations were mainly conducted with content buyers from the UAE and Turkey.

As a result of the DICM market, more than 50 hours of animation from the SMF studio will appear on the fast-growing VOD platform 1001.tv, broadcasting in Arabic with a focus on the Middle East. The animated series "I’ll get you!Holidays", "Rockoons", "Meow Magic", "The Secrets of Honey Hills", "Orange Moo-Cow", "Claymotions", will be added to the online library for viewers from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait Egypt and twenty other countries.

Voronezh Animation Studio presented the cartoons "The Snow Queen and the Princess", "The Steel Family: Brotherhood vs Gold", and "Arctic Heroes." The fifth part of the Snow Queen franchise was previously released theatrically in MENA by Front Row Filmed Entertainment. The new animated series from the studio, "The Steel Family: Brotherhood vs Gold", which is available for international sales in series and full-length format, attracted great interest at DICM 2023. International distributors noted the human and family values of the series, which are an important factor when selecting content for purchases in the region.

YARKO animation company took part in DICM for the first time. The company presented 3D and 2D series, including "Team M.A.T.C.H", "Dragonia", "Fly Deliveries", "Tickabo" and "Shushu magic". Buyers from different countries were impressed by the large catalog of Yarko animation. Depending on the territory and method of broadcasting (TV or online), buyers were interested in a range of projects for children of all ages. Negotiations are currently underway to sign the first deals.

Digital Television Russia said there was great interest in the projects "Puppies & Kittens", "Champies", new episodes of the animated series "Woodventures" (specially adapted for the region), and "Leo and Tig." Detailed negotiations on the projects are ongoing.