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Saudi Industry Snapshot: Rami Husseini, Havas Saudi Arabia

Rami Husseini, managing director, Havas Saudi Arabia

What are clients asking for in Saudi that’s new?

Clients in the KSA are looking for convenience, speed and premium quality services at competitive rates.

They are now, more than ever, laser-focused on Arabic content, which is key in communication and social media. Everything revolves around hyperlocal content creation. One in three Saudi residents prefers Arabic language media programming. Localised content can tap into an audience-needs gap, as Arabic internet usage in the Kingdom is three times that of English.

Clients’ desire for instant and highly personalised multimedia content like short videos, Gifs and 2D animation formats is heading wishlists and keeps growing. Some clients prefer the ‘freemium’ approach when it comes to content creation, seeking premium services at low or next to zero cost. 

Where do you see the biggest potential for growth in Saudi?

For a long time, what came to mind when talking about entertainment in Saudi Arabia was the 35-year cinema ban. In 2018, the first movie screening finally ended the ban, signaling a fresh start for Saudi’s entertainment sector.

With leisure and entertainment becoming its new oil, the Kingdom is now at the heart of every exciting futuristic development. The vision aims to attract local and global visitors by promising world-class entertainment and events in all sectors, fuelling the appetite for novelty, discovery and creativity. Saudi also announced its flagship digital content creation and production project, Ignite, and its plan to become one of the top 20 film industries in the world.

Through that, the Kingdom will drive its population to spend locally and will position itself as a regional leader in entertainment and media production.

This is the best time to expand and invest in Saudi. The country will soon be ripe with content development; audio-visual equipment; studio engineering and talent management companies. Foreign direct investors should explore that market to get first mover advantage.

What are the biggest challenges you face in the Kingdom?

Finding, attracting and retaining talent across all media and advertising capacities. Hyperlocal content catering to a large, demanding young population reigns, making it therefore close to impossible to rely on foreign professionals to fill some roles.

As the industry is relatively new to the local job market, few Saudis opted for advertising/media as their university major. The ones who did constantly receive attractive offers from government entities or ambitious start-ups. Due to the high demand for such resources, agencies are struggling when it comes to local talent.

How have you changed your offerings to reflect changes in Saudi Arabia?

Through our Havas Village model integrating creative, media and PR under one roof, we’ve built a client-centric solution where we work together seamlessly, building teams around our clients’ needs. It’s also a more streamlined, efficient and cost-effective way to make meaningful differences for our people and clients’ businesses.

We strengthened our team to answer the growing demand for events in the market and have the capacity to create, plan, implement and manage events in Saudi Arabia from A to Z. We also tap into our resources in our Dubai hub for more support when needed.

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