JUNE 2015


Nabil Itani Lebanon's media industry has always been considered one of the lucrative sectors for investment. Historically, the country has been known for its diverse media sub-sectors and its talented workforce. 
With the rise in digital content Lebanon remained the region's creative hub, attracting production and post-production investment projects.
As Lebanon's investment promotion agency, we are entrusted with the promotion of this sector, among others, and the facilitation of relevant investment projects. Subsequently, you will find in this issue an overview of the media industry in Lebanon with an emphasis on film production; a sub-sector that has great potential to develop in Lebanon. 

I hope you will find this newsletter useful. For feedback, do not hesitate to contact us.

Best Wishes,


Nabil Itani

Chairman-General Manager


Lebanon is home to one of the most noteworthy Media industries in the Middle East. The Lebanese media sector is highly developed and consists of varied industries including television broadcasting, advertising services, audiovisual production, publishing, music production as well as new emerging markets such as Digital media. The industry is a major contributor to the Lebanese economy.





  • The Media Industry accounted for nearly 4.75% of Lebanese GDP in 2013 and generated an added value of around 55.3%
  • The Media Sector comprises more than 450 companies and employ around 4.5% of the Lebanese labor force
  • Lebanon heads the advertising community in the Levant with a total spending of USD 463 million. It also has the highest contribution of creative industries to the national GDP in the MENA
  • The Media Industry spans across several fields: Television Broadcasting, Advertising, Production & Post Production, Digital Media, Publishing and Music



Lebanon is a source of talent to the entire Arab region that is both highly skilled and cost competitive:

  •  Every year, some 600 students are estimated to graduate with a degree in audiovisual arts. Specialized universities and faculties ensure these students are fit to meet the market requirements
  • Seven Lebanese universities offer courses in film production or audiovisual arts
  • Workers are not only highly skilled with average wages usually 50%-60% lower than in GCC countries.
  • Access to a large Middle Eastern market: Total household media consumption in the Middle East is considerably higher than in most developed markets, including the US, Japan, and European countries, with an average annual growth rate of 22.9%
  • The market continues to be highly promising with a youthful population ensuring a continued rise in demand;  52 % of the population in the Arab world is aged 25 and less
  • According to the Arab Media Outlook report, advertisement spending is expected to grow by 5.9% till 2015 owing to the economic recovery of the Arab world and the growth of digital advertising.  Online advertising is expected to reach USD 1 Billion in 2017.  The Arab online addressees is one of the fastest growing sectors with a growth rate of 2500% per annum. 
  • Liberal media sector: The country has the most liberal media sector in the Middle East, with minimal to no restrictions on broadcasting and publishing activities. In the MENA region, Lebanon has one of the highest Freedom of Expression Ranking.
  • Diverse geography: Lebanon's diverse geographic scene is considered very adequate for filming and production, facilitated with the presence of 250 days of sunlight, offering weather conditions and geographic areas adequate for shooting, and with diverse locations
  • Adequate legal framework: The Lebanese government has persistently spearheaded efforts to modernize media laws while playing an active role in enforcing intellectual property rights and regulations



We organized a conference titled 'Invest in Media' at the Cinemacity in Beirut Souks in partnership with Fondation Liban Cinema to encourage investments in the sector, in particular film production.


The event was under the patronage and presence of the Minister of Information and Minister of Culture whereby they foresaw the signing of a memorandum of understanding between IDAL, represented by Chairman Nabil Itani and Fondation Liban Cinema, represented by its President Mrs. Maya de Freige. The conference included three panels of discussion covering investment opportunities, challenges, support and new sector trends.

Subsequently, IDAL will support various activities related to the promotion of the film industry in Lebanon, part of which is the Lebanese pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival which took place in May.




We were present in Cannes  from 13-25 May along with the Fondation Liban Cinema and the Office du Tourisme, to promote for Lebanon's film industry and to network among the industry's key players.



  1. To create awareness of Lebanon as a media hub for the region
  2. To increase interest in Lebanon as a destination for film production
  3. To promote for Lebanese films
  4. To support companies wishing to establish their business projects in Lebanon
  5. To provide for existing Lebanese filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their brilliant work to an international
IDAL, apart from the networking opportunities and B to B meetings, took part in a roundtable discussion on the new drive of Lebanese cinema:


Roundtable: Produced in Lebanon : The new drive of the Lebanese cinema In 2015, several feature films and documentaries have been shot, including movies by Daniele Arbid, Georges Hashem, Assad Fouladkar, Maryanne Zehil, Vatche Boulghourjian...

Academics and professionals commented on the evolution of this production and presented new initiatives to stimulate the sector across the financing, production, distribution and promotion fields. They also presented the main cinematographic manifestations during this year in Lebanon.

A reception followed in the presence of Ely Dagher, a young filmmaker, whose short animation "Waves 98" has been selected for the official competition and won the Palm D'Or.


The event also included film screenings:


Screening of "Rough-Cuts", a selection of excerpts from movies in postproduction and distribution

The road, by Rana Salem

- The other side of November, by Maryanne Zehil

- Nour, by Khalil Zaarour

- Heatwave, by Joyce Nashawati


Screening of « Film ktir kbeer»

A feature narrative directed by Mir Jean Bou Chaaya and produced by Kabreet Productions.


If you are involved in the film industry either through production, post production or distribution activities and would like to establish your project in Lebanon, you need to secure a minimum investment size of USD 200,000 or USD 400,000 (capital investment in land or machine) along with 25 job opportunities to take advantage of a range of incentives and business support services that include:

* Up to 100% exemption on corporate income tax for up to 10 years
* Up to 100% exemption on profits from dividends for up to 10 years
* 100% exemption on land registration fees
* 50% reduction on work and residence permits for foreign workers
* Up to a 50% reduction on construction permits fees

We have compiled all the information in an updated fact sheet on the media industry and its sub-sectors. The fact sheet also includes the various incentives offered by IDAL for investment projects in the industry. 




IDAL participated in the 4th Arab-Hellenic Economic Forum organized by the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development in Athens on June 3 and 4, 2015. IDAL`s chairman Eng. Nabil Itani had an intervention during the "Arab countries - the investment climate: opportunities and obstacles" session, focusing on the investment climate in Lebanon as well as the available incentives and opportunities. 






IDAL took part in the 6th session of the Arab Chinese Businessmen Conference that took place in Phoenicia, Beirut. Apart from our booth presence throughout the conference, we organized a workshop the second day of the conference covering a keynote speech by Chairman Nabil Itani, a presentation on Lebanon's investment climate, opportunities and incentives as well as a panel discussion headed by Mr.Itani on "Lebanon: Promising Investment Opportunities in the Framework of the Economic Belt of the Silk Road".



IDAL participated in "The Mexican-Lebanese Business Relations Development" conference, jointly organized by the Mexican Embassy in Beirut and the RDCL. In its presentation, IDAL focused on the investment opportunities available in Lebanon in front of a Mexican business delegation who have expressed the interest in investing in Lebanon. IDAL`s presentation also focused on the comparative advantages of the country, and the incentives that each investor can take advantage of.



After being elected President of the Lebanese International Business Council (LIBC), Mrs. Roula Moussa visited the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) and discussed with Chairman Nabil Itani  communication projects to reach out to Lebanese expatriates and enhance the bonds between locals and expats through a common strategy to be developed by IDAL and the Council. Mr. Itani highlighted, during the meeting, the importance of adopting effective plans and programs to attract expats and encourage them to invest in their motherland. He pointed out that all States now recognize the weight of this issue and work in this direction. Itani also tackled the possibility of creating socio-economic communication networks that can facilitate the reactivation of communication via a specialized program and through studying the capacities of the Diaspora and its economic and intellectual potential, in addition to its investment interests.




IDAL organized a dinner to honor the delegations participating in the "Lebanese economy: Strategic Guidelines for economic and social development" forum held at Phoenicia Hotel, on April 1st, 2015, of which IDAL was a sponsor. IDAL`s Chairman Mr. Nabil Itani delivered a speech, stressing the importance of holding this conference at this period of time, where Arab countries and the Middle East region face major challenges and changes that reflected on economic sectors, and on the overall investment climate. 





IDAL participated in the "Mobilizing Diaspora for Global Integration in Investment and Knowledge Transfer" conference, organized by the World Bank Group, in cooperation with the" Mediterranean Integration Center" on May 29, 2015 in Marseille - France. IDAL`s Chairman Eng. Nabil Itani declared that IDAL is striving to set up a local strategy to attract DDI, and boost the economic link between Lebanese residents and expatriates





Mr. Nabil Itani, Chairman-General Manager of IDAL took part at the G20 WAIPA conference on "Foreign Direct Investment" in Istanbul on April 27-28, 2015. 

The conference is organized in association with Invest in Turkey, B20 and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) to include Investment Promotion Agencies' perspective to G20 processes to ensure continuous improvement in global investment climate, more inclusive global economic systems and higher connectivity among all economies.



For the third consecutive year, the AIM delivered the Investment Award, which recognizes the accomplishment of the countries or regions in attracting sizable and beneficial investment projects and thus contributing to the economic growth and development of their markets. Lebanon has won through the investment project of Arwan Pharmaceuticals, a project of over USD 17 million, that benefited from IDAL's support and incentive schemes.
The Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) is an initiative from the UAE Ministry of Economy. It is the region's first emerging markets FDI/focused event to offer a perfect blend of trade fair and intellectual features aimed at enriching institutional, corporate and individual investors attending with a comprehensive view of the investment environment in high growth regions.
IDAL is always exerting constant effort to improve the economy and indirectly enhance the standard of living of the people in Lebanon.



We met a Chinese delegation from the Ministry of Commerce to boost trade and economic relations and look into FDI computation methodologies. Mr. Itani emphasized on the fact that the economic relations between Lebanon and China are not recent and that Lebanon was the first Arab country to sign a treaty with China 60 years ago.




IDAL participated in the official delegation headed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Tammam Salam, to attend the "Egypt Economic Development" conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh between March 13 and 15, 2015. The conference witnessed the launch of the ambition investment program for many sectors that will contribute to the development of regions and create more job opportunities




We sponsored the "Beirut Film festival", which was organized between 12 and 18 March 2015. This sponsorship fell within the framework of the support that IDAL can provide to the media sector in Lebanon, aiming at raising awareness about the services it can offer.




IDAL attended EDILE's (Economic Development Through Inclusive and Local Empowerment) second Regional Exchange Session, hosted by ANIMA Investment Network on 21-22 April, 2015 in Marseille. The seminar discussed the economic impact of investment and EDILE assessment tool with a special focus on economic criterion and country-specific practice. 



The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) is the national investment promotion agency of Lebanon. Established in 1994, IDAL aims to promote Lebanon as key investment destination and attracting, facilitating and retaining investments in LebanonIDAL reports to the President of the Council of Ministers which exercises a tutorial authority over it.