IP&TV News talks to Cinemoz Founder and CEO Karim Safieddine. Karim will be a presenting a keynote at next month’s TV Connect MENA (2-3 November 2015 Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai). Click here to download the free brochure.
IP&TV News: Hi Karim. First of all, can you introduce our readers to Cinemoz – and tell us about how you’ve been integrating social elements into the service…
Karim Safieddine: Cinemoz is the leading AVOD service for and from the Arab World. With over 1000 feature films and documentaries offered for completely free viewing on any connected device, along a slate of original fiction series to be released in 2016, it has the bold ambition to lead the premium format streaming experience in one the most dynamic VOD markets in the world.
The social element has always been an integral part of the Cinemoz product offering and driver viewership. From our official partnership with Facebook allowing users to share movie scenes instantly with their friends network, to our heavily social-centric audience acquisition, we’ll keep pursuing ground-breaking features to align content and technology into the constantly evolving social consumption market.
How successful has the balancing of VOD and social been?
The most valuable lesson social has given us concerns the quantifying and assessing of our audience. Beyond the basic metrics or performance elements, social has actually helped shape and develop new viewer and content acquisition strategies. More specifically, social has given us the clarity to pursue super users across the MENA region, rather than immediate critical mass.
For instance, Facebook and Twitter users on our outlets turned out to be at the top of our conversion pyramid, whereby vocal Cinemoz users would drive more significant wider engagement, as they would organically act as opinion leaders and product ambassadors. It’s a pretty simple marketing principal, but social definitely provides the coup de grace and confirms the given principle.
How do you see MENA VOD developing in the next few years? Is Cinemoz well placed to take advantage of the expected surge in consumption?
Having been one of the first platforms to enter the Middle East over three years ago, we can confidently say that all the elements we see today are extremely encouraging for all current players.
Following the hard market curve of mass VOD market education and awareness, there is a definite large pie with a lot of space for diverse offerings to thrive. The really interesting game starts now, with subscription vs. AVOD, original content races, and ease of use and availability can start to determine the true market leaders. Ad budgets are surging with consumption, which is right down our alley as the only freemium service out there. Subscription based models might also pick up with e-commerce being gentrified at last. We should all have a very interesting couple of years ahead.
Finally, what’s the significance of TV Connect MENA in to regional ecosystem?
We’re always excited to take part in TV Connect MENA – and (most importantly) to invest in its growth. The region needs a common space for tech, content and media key players to find and develop alleys of collaboration and trade together. Traditionally there hasn’t been any significant roundtable for all of these industry stakeholders to meet and pick each other’s brains, and it is safe to say that TV Connect MENA is now filling that gap.