Entertainment in the Middle East- Not so Different!


There’s so much talk going on in the world about the conflicts and struggles in the Middle East that it’s easy to forget about the fun and entertainment available to people there. If you’re like me, you might not be aware of what people do for fun over there. Well, much like here and in most parts of the world, television is the dominant form of entertainment, with over 70% of citizens from multiple Middle Eastern countries watching it every day. However, you won’t be seeing Middle Eastern people watching shows like The Simpsons or How I Met Your Mother very often, as the people there watch shows and media mace in their own country, except for most citizens from Qatar who really enjoy American TV.

Film in cinema’s are not as prominent as they are here, with 55% of people in the Middle East stating they have never seen a film, but the people who do go to watch movies mostly see Egyptian made films. Egypt can be considered the Hollywood of the Middle East, with a majority of people watching films produced there. However, there are still large audiences (mostly under the age of 35) who watch American and European films, and this is one of the biggest reasons many of the youth there know more English than their parents. Overall though, many people prefer Arab and Egyptian movies because they are viewed as having a more positive influence on morality.

Video games are also played in the Middle East, with four in then people owning and playing them around five hours a week. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the leading countries who play video games, which range from all sorts, such as racing, sports, and MMORPG’s.

Like in all parts of the world, music is very important to the people of Middle eastern countries. 71% of 18-24 year old people say music is extremely important to their lives. The most frequently heard music there is Arabic Egyptian music, with 77% of the people picking this as their favorite genre, followed by 42% saying Western music is their favorite. Nationality is a big factor for people choosing their favorite music.

Entertainment is very similar in these parts of the world as any other part, with a strong sense of nationalism when it comes to who produces what, which is very admirable. Western media and entertainment is there and consumed by a great number of people, but the majority prefer music and other types of media made in one of their countries.

source: Entertainment Media Use in the Middle East

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5 thoughts on “Entertainment in the Middle East- Not so Different!

  1. This is really interesting and really puts into perspective that we are not much different than people in the Middle East.

    I think the part that stuck out to me most is when you said that they prefer Arab or Egyptian movies because they have more positive influences. This got me thinking about our own culture and movies, which in my opinion aren’t always the best. Increasingly, so many movies are in theaters that are far too gruesome for the interested audience (usually young teens, in my opinion).

    It’s nice to put into perspective that people in the Middle East enjoy music, video games and TV just like us, just perhaps with a bit more of a positive message or tone.

  2. It’s interesting that TV is so prominent, and yet movies are not highly sought after. I also really like that they try to stick to their own domestically-made media. That shows a lot of loyalty to their region and their community members. My one curiosity is that I wonder if all of the Middle Eastern-made media has the citizens pigeon-holed in their own beliefs and customs, without opening their eyes to the rest of the world’s population. When you’re constantly reminded of tradition, it’s hard to break free into more contemporary ways of living. This would most likely be a good thing for the government, so that they could keep running the same way they always have, but it could be a bad thing for the citizens in the long run.

  3. Interesting post. I’d be even more interested to see perhaps a follow up post on how each form of entertainment affects the culture over there. Especially regarding video games… in America there is some debate on video games influencing gun violence and behavior among children, I wonder if similar issues are relevant in the Middle East?

  4. I’m so glad I read your post! It seems like all I ever hear about are the negative things going on in the Middle East so it’s refreshing to know that they enjoy similar entertainment as we do here in the U.S. I am curious to know how much the average Egyptian film grosses in the box office compared to a film from the United States. Seems like they would do pretty well with having such a large target audience.

  5. It’s crazy to me that so many people in the Middle East have never seen a movie! I am a movie addict and have so many memories involving movie nights with my family and friends. They are such a normal part of our culture and movie stars shape much of our pop culture! I really can’t imagine life without movies.

    I would have liked to know more about video games! What kind of game systems do they play? Are they the same as ours? Do they have the same quality of graphics? What about hand held gaming systems? I loved playing video games when I was younger and I can say pretty confidently that almost every college guy has a gaming system. Is this the same there?

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