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Egypt's unshackled media a lure to Sony

The emergence of media companies in Egypt following the Arab Spring is drawing technology giants such as Sony to the country, amid a forecasted growth in demand for recording equipment.

The emergence of new media companies in Egypt after the Arab Spring is drawing technology giants such as Sony to the country, amid an expected growth in demand for recording equipment.

The Japanese electronics giant says it is targeting TV and film companies, and aims to boost sales of professional equipment in North Africa, as privately owned media companies emerge after decades of close government control of the sector.

Matt Soga, a senior general manager at Sony's Professional Solutions Group, who is based in Japan, said the Middle East had "a lot of growth potential" for the company. That opportunity includes demand from new TV broadcasters in the Arab Spring countries, he said.

"For political reasons, the investment has been frozen or stopped. But now it is starting again. So we have some high expectations," he said.

Rob Sherman, the managing director for Sony Professional in the Middle East and Africa, said he expected a liberalisation of the media landscape in North Africa.

"Perhaps this year we'll start to see the Arab Spring countries starting to redevelop their media landscape," he said. "With the press freedoms coming out, we should start to see more independent broadcasters developing."

Mr Sherman said Sony had conducted a sales roadshow in Morocco, and planned something similar in Egypt in the next couple of months.

"Egypt is going to be a very interesting case to watch. Now, perhaps, the landscape will become a lot freer," he said.

"The talent base is there, the people capable of making the programmes are there. It could be huge."

He likened the opportunity in North Africa to that of Lebanon in the early 1990s, when, he said, many TV stations launched.

"After the civil war conflict, we were supplying upwards of 20 television stations with our equipment," he said. "

Virtually every little neighbourhood had its own TV station That's what happened when they were allowed to have their own voice."

Sony Professional Solutions specialises in professional video cameras, editing equipment and monitors.

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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