On the 11th of December 2017, Saudi Arabia’s government announced that they would be putting an end to the country’s 35-year ban on Cinemas.
With Saudi being home to some of the most active and vocal social media users in the region, the topic took social media platforms by storm. In less than 5 days, there have been over 104,000 mentions of the topic worldwide.
Over 60% of social media chatter was taking place in Arabic, followed by 37% which was in English. This does not come as a surprise given that the highest volume of mentions was from Saudi Arabia, followed by the US, India, UK & UAE respectively securing the top 5 countries discussing the news.
The James Bond saga was one of the most mentioned movies in association with the announcement (over 1200 mentions). Another topic used when discussing the lift on the cinema ban includes “Bahrain”, the Bahraini capital is only a few hours away by car, and currently serves as the cinema and leisure ‘hub’ for many Saudis. A few other keywords being mentioned in line with the news are “Breaking News”, “Decades” and “beginning” which signifies the general excitement of the public regarding the topic.
Twitter is currently leading the social media conversations surrounding the news, with a staggering 93% share, followed by Facebook & social forums.
Christo Van Wyk, Meltwater’s Area Director for India and the Middle East, had commented, “Social media is a gateway for GCC and global stakeholders to follow Saudi Arabia’s ongoing revolutionary social reform. Today, companies can stay on top of real-time conversations through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join in on the conversations that could have a strategic advantage to building their brands. “
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been heavily discussed online in recent months, due to several ground-breaking announcements which include the launch of Saudi’s futuristic city NEOM, and being the first to grant Sophia, a robot, Saudi citizenship, as well as allowing females to drive, and most recently – the lift on the cinema ban.
Social media exposure of the topic in both English and Arabic, the highest volume of mentions was on December 11th (day of announcement), peaking at over 51,000 mentions. The buzz around the topic was still strong on the 12th of December, dropping by 37% with a total of 32,385 mentions. Social chatter on the announcement are still ongoing on a daily basis.