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Average rental rates in Riyadh’s malls rose 3 percent in the past 12 months

Sports and entertainment to push up Riyadh retail rents 

The sports and entertainment sectors will be key drivers in Riyadh retail rents rising by 28 percent by 2026, according to new research, with rates already up 3 percent in the past year. “The total existing retail supply in Riyadh stands at 3.6 million square metres, with around 27,050 square metres of retail space entering […]

The arts centre, designed by Tom Wiscombe, will be a futuristic building that straddles rugged mountains outside Riyadh

Futuristic architect lands arts centre in Saudi’s Qiddiya

Saudi sports and entertainment city Qiddiya is to build a performing arts centre designed by leading architect Tom Wiscombe, whose futuristic building will straddle rugged mountains outside Riyadh.  The centre will include 3,000 seats spread across three theatres including an amphitheatre with views of the capital.  Qiddiya, one of the Public Investment Fund’s giga-projects, said […]

Savvy Games woman at computer

Saudi gaming company courts giants of Japan and South Korea

Japanese and South Korean gaming companies such as Nintendo and Kakao are being targeted by Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games Group, which wants them to set up in the kingdom to make products aimed at local consumers. Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy, told AGBI: “If locally made Arabic games tap into the ancient lore and history […]

An artist's impression of the surf lagoon being built at Aquarabia in Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia

Largest water park in Middle East to open in Qiddiya next year

The largest water theme park in the Middle East is on target to open in the city of Qiddiya next year, its developer has announced. Aquarabia, the first water park in Saudi Arabia, will have four record holders among its 22 rides, including the world’s tallest “water coaster” and tallest water slide. It will also […]

The number of customers playing digital games in Jordan expanded to just under 6 million in 2023

Jordan’s digital game spend at $82m in 2023

The total amount spent on digital games in Jordan reached $82.5 million in 2023, official data has revealed. Nearly $17 million was allocated to paid games while $7.3 million was spent on live in-game purchases, state-run Jordan News Agency said, quoting the Information and Communications Technology Association of Jordan (Intaj). Mobile games commanded the largest […]

Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja. Her film 'Three' is currently being shown in UAE theatres in Mandarin using's AI translation programme

Dubai startup helps AI-voice cloning take centre stage

A YouTube video released in January of Novak Djokovic shows the tennis star speaking fluent Spanish at a post-match press conference.  While the Serbian champion is renowned for speaking several languages, in this case his voice was created by an artificial intelligence tool developed by a Dubai-based startup, The original Djokovic footage was taken […]

Elie Habib, co-founder of streaming service Anghami

MBC Group buys stake in Anghami

Shares of the Abu-Dhabi-based music streaming company Anghami rose by more than 80 percent this week after the release of a regulatory filing revealed that Saudi media company MBC Group has acquired a 14 percent stake. MBC Group, through its arm MBC Ventures, purchased four million ordinary shares of the Nasdaq-listed company. The purchase was […]

How the Grand Boulevard Approach of The Arena will look

London architect HKS to design Diriyah’s 20,000-seat Arena

Saudi Arabia has hired a London-based architecture practice to design a sports and entertainment venue in Riyadh’s historic district of Diriyah, close to the site where a landmark opera house will be built.  “The architecture rises from the landscape as a series of monoliths, evoking local geological formations and alluding to ancient Nadji forts and […]

Idris Elba was among the celebrities at the Hub71 Impact Summit who see the potential in investing in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi courts celebrity investors to make its mark

Abu Dhabi is increasingly turning to celebrities, from actors and comedians to boxers and writers, to increase its presence on the world stage. The UAE’s capital has attracted entrepreneurs from around the world who are investing and expanding their businesses in the emirate. Among the latest to announce plans to invest in Abu Dhabi are […]

Ras Al Khaima casino

Casino plan tempts Dubai’s Danube to buy plots in RAK

Danube Properties, a Dubai-based real estate developer, is pursuing land deals in Ras Al Khaimah as the emirate’s real estate market heats up, driven by the planned arrival of a casino. Prices for one-bedroom apartments are now matching or even exceeding those in Downtown Dubai, an upmarket part of the UAE’s commercial capital, after RAK’s […]

The Big Time fund will be used to support pan-Arab cinema and production facilities have already been developed at AlUla

Saudi Arabia sets up Big Time film investment fund

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority has set up the Big Time investment fund to support pan-Arab cinema, in Riyadh’s latest push to develop soft power through sports and culture. The authority’s head Turki Alalshikh said during a visit to Cairo that the entertainment authority would act as the Big Time fund’s main sponsor along with […]

Seven will open an entertainment complex on the seafront promenade on Al Nawras Island in Yanbu

Seven plans entertainment sites in remote parts of Saudi Arabia

Saudi giga-project developer Seven says it will open the first of 21 destinations next year as part of its mandate to build entertainment complexes in remote corners of the country. It plans to roll them out over the next six years.  Damien Latham, chief attraction officer at the Public Investment Fund subsidiary, said Seven had […]

Poddster co-founder and CEO Vuk Zlatarov. The Dubai-based podcast company is expanding its studio network across the UAE and Saudi Arabia

Poddster builds on Mena’s podcast popularity

Poddster aims to “democratise” Middle East podcast production by expanding its network of recording studios, capitalising on high listener figures and rising interest in independent content in the Mena region. Founded by Vuk Zlatarov and Ivan Zeljkovic, the Dubai-based podcast company plans to increase its number of UAE studios from three to seven, and launch […]

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - DECEMBER 02: Greg Silverman, Charlene Deleon-Jones and Jessika Borsiczky pose in the portrait studio during the Red Sea International Film Festival 2023 on December 02, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for The Red Sea International Film Festival)

Coming to a movie theatre near you … AlUla

It would make the perfect setting for Star Wars or Indiana Jones, but AlUla is developing production facilities that will expand its reach beyond sci-fi and desert adventure movies, making it one of the region’s prime locations for international shoots.  The tourist location in northwest Saudi Arabia is fast developing into a mini-city with an […]

Faris Godus (right) with brother Sohayb and actress Najm, the stars of his film Fever Dream

Modern Saudi gets its close-up at Jeddah film festival

The new Saudi Arabia seen on screen at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah is barely recognisable from the country where religious mores prevented the mingling of unrelated men and women, and suspicions of foreigners cast a long shadow.  Among the stories being told at this month’s festival are those of a young […]

MBC Group chairman Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim (right) at the signing of an MoU with the Saudi Film Commission. MBC's share price suggests a market capitalisation of $2.2bn

Saudi’s MBC Group prices IPO at top of the range

Strong investor demand has led Saudi media company MBC Group to price its initial public offering (IPO) at SAR25 per share, the top of a range published earlier this month.  The price implies a market capitalisation of SAR8.3 billion ($2.2 billion) at listing, said IPO manager HSBC in a filing to the Saudi Stock Exchange […]

Fashion, People, Person

Saudi film festival showcases growing movie industry

The third Red Sea Film Festival kicked off in Jeddah last week, highlighting the city’s rejuvenation as part of Saudi Arabia’s economic reform plans and rapid growth of its movie industry.  Stars including Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Sharon Stone, Catherine Deneuve and a coterie of Saudi directors and actors graced the red carpet for gala […]

People watch fireworks and a light show as Saudi Arabia celebrates winning its bid to host the World Expo 2030 in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia wins bid to host World Expo 2030

Saudi Arabia will host the World Expo 2030 in Riyadh, surpassing bids from Busan in South Korea and the Italian city of Rome. A total of 119 countries endorsed Riyadh’s candidacy during the 173rd general assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) held in Paris, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported. The World Expo […]

Sarah Jessica Parker in And Just Like That.

More deals likely to follow OSN+ and Anghami merger

The merger last week between OSN+ and Anghami will lead to more consolidation in the region’s streaming sector, industry experts have said. Kuwait’s Kipco-Panther Media Group, which operates as OSN, will combine its streaming service OSN+ with Anghami’s music and entertainment business to create one of the Middle East’s largest streaming platforms. The Europe, Middle […]

MBC is one the largest media and entertainment companies in the Mena region, with its content reaching over 150 million people every week

Saudi media company MBC Group to float 10% in IPO 

Saudi media major MBC Group plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) on the Saudi Exchange (Tadawul). The announcement comes after the Capital Market Authority (CMA) approved the company’s plan to offer 33.25 million ordinary shares, representing 10 percent of its share capital. The offering price will be determined at the end of the […]