CABSAT, the leading digital media event in the region, and third largest on the global calendar, is set to be bigger, better and more compelling than ever. The 2013 edition of CABSAT runs from March 12 to 14 at Dubai World Trade Centre and comes at a time of transformational change in the broadcast and media industry in the region. The event boasts a 15% increase in size and is set to welcome leading broadcast and satellite technology companies from around the world. According to specialist analyst Digital TV Research 10 countries in the region have already achieved the milestone of 100% digital television penetration, with the whole of MENA seeing digital television in 85% of households as soon as 2017. Added to this is the rapid rise of online viewing and social media. Content specialists LiquidThread carried out research on viewing patterns during Ramadan this year and found a high level of internet use, particularly to catch up on favourite programmes, noting “people swap seamlessly between screens to watch the same series and catch up on missed episodes.” Catch-up television is set to rocket, increasing the amount of television viewed: the same research predicts that access to digital video recording in the set-top box will triple in the next 10 years. Social media also has an impact. Facebook now has a billion users worldwide, and research by Omnicon Media Group puts penetration in the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the same level as the most advanced users like USA and UK. Close to 90% of those surveyed said that social media was their first online activity, even before checking emails. Serving this tremendous appetite for media, the region is now served by world-class businesses. For example, OSN offers a compelling service of regional and international content; Sky News Arabia has created the most advanced news production centre in the world; and Live sent one of its HD outside broadcast units from Abu Dhabi to London to provide coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games. To match this dynamic and thriving market, CABSAT is the ideal platform for people from around the region to come together to share knowledge and to learn the latest from the manufacturers. The exhibition filled the Sheikh Saeed Halls and extended outside, with remote broadcasting and satellite trucks in the Arena. With exhibition space at full capacity, all the leading manufacturers from around the world, as well as the strong local distribution and systems integration suppliers, are expected to flock to CABSAT 2013. Research at the 2012 CABSAT found 94% of visitors rating their experience as “good” or “excellent”. Among the leading companies at CABSAT was Cisco, which exhibited for the first time in 2012 at the event. Business development manager Omar Hawary reflected that “we met our goal of achieving a strong impact for our video technology in the region. Cisco was very appreciative of the outstanding support of the organisation at CABSAT, which contributed greatly to our success at the exhibition”. Melvin Saldanha, vice-president of engineering at Ten Sports in India said: “I have seen an impressive evolution of CABSAT over the nine years I have been visiting. For anyone involved in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia broadcast industry, it is the natural event to source new equipment and techniques, create new partnerships and forge business deals. The networking opportunities in and around the event are second to none.” As Tareq Abdul Raheem al Hosani, CEO of Yahsat, said, “CABSAT is a wonderful networking platform to explore new business opportunities, formulate strategies and strengthen partnerships with key industry players.” Summing up the plans for CABSAT 2013, Helal Saeed Almarri, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the event, said, “We are explicitly broadening our appeal this year to include the emerging African markets and the hotspots of South Asia as well as our established MENA footprint. Every broadcaster and content producer across this wider region is facing challenges at present, to create programming that stands up against the best of the rest of the world, and to deliver it across multiple platforms in our always on, social environment. “CABSAT is going from strength to strength because we create an event where everyone is welcome to share their experiences and to learn what is new,” he continued. “Our region has a fine reputation for innovation, and our major players are regularly catalysts for imaginative new applications of the latest technology. I am very much looking forward to welcoming the broadcast and media industry to Dubai in March.” Beyond the exhibition, CABSAT provides much more value for visitors. The CABSAT Academy continues to develop targeted training, workshop and discussion sessions to boost knowledge exchange. There is a mixture of free and paid sessions, with vendor presentations, workshops and interactive tutorials alongside the broadcast conference and the satellite conference organised in partnership with GVF. Alongside the well-established technology feature areas, 2013 sees a new dedicated “Africa in Focus” zone on the exhibition floor. This provides a starting point and networking area for the many decision makers coming from emerging African markets. Also new in 2013 is a VIP visitor programme, designed to ensure that C-level executives make the most of their time at CABSAT. This offers exclusive networking opportunities as well as dedicated events and access to a special lounge. Visitor registration is now open. The exhibition is strictly for trade and business only, and visitors under the age of 18 will not be permitted entry.