Building cinemas at the crossroads of Europe & Asia

To be held in Turkey this November, the inaugural #ECMIstanbul conference will examine opportunities in nascent cinema markets. Event organiser Rob Arthur, from The Big Picture, explores the potential.

The emerging cinema markets of Turkey, Central Asia, the Middle East, Balkans and North Africa are at an early stage in their development, but in combination offer a significant opportunity for investors, studios, distributors, exhibitors and their specialist supply chains.

A focus on these territories is the driver behind the inaugural Emerging Cinema Markets Conference, to be held this November in Istanbul. Some 650 million people live in the target markets, but there are just 170 million cinema ticket sales officially recorded per annum. GDP in the area is $5,200bn with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, Egypt and Israel being among the biggest markets.

With cinema admits per capita averaging less than 0.3 per annum, there is scope to grow capacity by more than 10,000 screens; admissions by half a billion and gross box office by $2.5bn at a modest average ticket price. That level of growth will ineivtably take time, expertise and an appreciation by all involved — exhibitors, distributors and trade supply chains — that there will be challenges.


There are significant cultural and commercial challenges in the market area. Turkish, Kazak and Arabic filmmakers amongst others are finding new audiences and their local content adds to the impact of international studio and Hollywood offers. Learning and development and the ability to deliver great customer service in new markets is required; as is the ability to utilise the technical equipment purchased to the best of its ability — there’s little point in spending capital without also delivering the best picture and sound in the best seats each and every day.

We are excited about the potential of this conference to support the growth of cinema. It gives exhibitors, suppliers and content providers from the region a chance to join together at #ecmistanbul and discuss developments, technical challenges and innovations that are central to the industry today, as well as a chance to look ahead to the future.  Our hope is that as many as possible will sign up to attend an informative event — one that also offers a unique chance to network with industry experts and professionals. Significantly, the conference has the backing of the British Chamber of Commerce Turkey (BCCT). Emrah Oz, CEO of the BCCT explained that “as the partner of choice for British business in Turkey, BCCT is delighted to support this event. It will allow participants from Turkey and the UK to enhance their network in an industry gaining in strength both in Turkey and the surrounding region — our hope is that it will help them identify and access potential business opportunities in this area.”


What’s on the agenda?

  • 21st Century shopping centre and cinema tour for delegates to see several outstanding cinemas within signature designed shopping centres in Istanbul.
  • A workshop from the British Chamber of Commerce Turkey to explain to delegates how to do business in the conference regions and support opportunities.
  • Speeches and panel sessions from industry leaders
  • Emerging Cinema Markets Overview with Trends and Opportunities – outlining the market in more detail
  • 21st Century Retail Centres – the key location for cinemas in emerging markets: what do they offer and how does the cinema interact?
  • Specialist architects, technical suppliers & operators.
  • Cinema technology – data, projection, seats, sound and screen offers are the key ingredients to delivering a world class cinema. How can these be best used to deliver outstanding experiences.
  • Cinema Food & Drinks – a sector that delivers sustainable cinema in all markets, and cinemas need to deliver a broader mix of food and drinks than ever.
  • Growth Opportunities including Screen Advertising and Event Cinema.
  • The Big Picture Focus on Saudi Arabia: Vision 2030 is a session dedicated to the re-emergence of Saudi Arabia as a cinema market.

Book your tickets today

DCS Events with The Big Picture will be hosting an Emerging Cinema Markets Conference on 20-22 November at the Swissôtel The Bosphorus, Istanbul.


Delegate tickets are available, costing €995 with a discounted price of €795 for members of recognised industry trade bodies. An ‘Early Bird’ rate of €795 is currently on offer. Full details for purchasing tickets and booking rooms at the Swissotel at a special rates are also on the website.


A host of sponsorship opportunities are available.  For more details, contact and for more information visit

About Peter Knight

Peter Knight is the Commissioning Editor for the Cinema Technology Magazine, along with the Managing Editor for the Mad Cornish Projectionist website. He is still a working projectionist and AV technician with an interest in all things projected both in traditional cinema and elsewhere too. Peter has been running his own business since 2017.

View all posts by Peter Knight →