What were the biggest developments in the Islamic-themed media and recreation industry in 2019-2020? The State of the Global Islamic Economy 2020/21 report from DinarStandard expects global Muslim expenditure on media and recreation in 2021 will surpass pre-pandemic levels.
- Muslims spent $222 billion on media and recreation in 2019, up 3.7% from $214 billion in 2018.
- Turkey, USA and Indonesia are the top countries by expenditure.
- Muslim expenditure on media and recreation is set to drop by 3.7% in 2020 to $214 billion due to the COVID-19 crisis.
- However, a strong recovery is expected in 2021 that will surpass 2019 levels.
- Muslim consumer spending on media is expected to reach $270 billion in 2024.
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- The State of the Global Islamic Economy report has ben published annually since 2013 by DinarStandard, the parent company of Salaam Gateway.
The pandemic has been both a curse and a blessing for the media sector. It was a trying period for venues dependent on physical attendance, from cinemas and theaters, to film festivals and musical events, as well as for actual media production amid lockdowns and social distancing. On the flip side, media outlets had more of a captive audience, with people spending more time at home and online seeking entertainment and stimulation.
As with other sectors, there was a digital shift due to the pandemic, with events such as the Global Muslim Virtual Film Festival held online, while entertainment and educational platforms extended their virtual presence to a wider audience. Indeed, with mosques closed or participation restricted during Ramadan and Eid Al Adha, demand for online seminars, lectures and sermons surged. Governments and religious authorities also adapted by utilizing online video platforms for Ramadan and apps to book prayer slots.
With Ramadan occurring during the pandemic— the Muslim world’s most important month for entertainment, religious and cultural events—viewership figures reached unprecedented levels. TV series in particular drew in the crowds, with the most watched program, Turkish historical drama Diriliş: Ertuğrul, attracting 133 million viewers in Pakistan, which became popular after being professionally dubbed into Urdu.
Mainstream media outlets, such as CNN, Facebook and streaming platform Netflix responded to Ramadan during a pandemic with dedicated series and partnerships with Arabic digital platforms. Netflix also acquired more localized content to cater to its diverse viewership, while culturally Islamic superheroes and cartoons were launched in the USA and Turkey.
SIGNALS OF OPPORTUNITY
The pandemic has pushed demand for online media to sky-high levels, opening up new opportunities for online content.
Signals of opportunities include:
Global streaming platforms are sourcing more localized content.
Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in building its media and culture.
Muslim-themed characters and TV series are global hits.
Everyday life has moved online because of COVID- 19, with Muslim-themed education and culture building a greater presence online.
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