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THE MEDIA - MEDIA to benefit from SDL CX Research
posted on 23/04/2015

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre has met a number of SDL's executives in Amsterdam during his participation at the SDL Innovate 2015 conference, to discuss solutions and innovative content distribution for the online newspaper
Present at the meeting were Paige O'Neill, Chief Marketing Officer - SDL; Kip Martin, VP Customer Experience Management Programme Office - SDL; Howard Beader, VP Product Marketing - SDL; Eric Minard, Regional VP for Southern and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa - SDL; Osama Samra, Director General of Sharjah Media Centre; Jean Feghali, Editor-In-Chief of; Nabil Zmokhol, Regional Sales Director Middle East and Africa - SDL; Franck Feix, Customer Experience Business Technologist; and Monther Atout, Head of IT at Sharjah Media Centre.
SDL Innovate 2015 was moderated by Paige O'Neill, who gave insights on a field research conducted by SDL that looked into customers experience (CX) of brands and the key areas where customer relationship can be improved. He shared fundamentals of the emirate of Sharjah's history and its economic drivers.
"Sharjah has a very rich culture and history and we try to share our stories. Therefore we developed, and are now receiving news from a large number of authorities before the main stream media gets to know about them. We coordinate with all our local and federal authorities and have a high commitment to drive to its well-deserved position as a transparent, accurate and timely resource for channelled information about the emirate Sharjah and the UAE in general."
Osama Samra, Director General of Sharjah Media Centre added, "The website is an online newspaper initiated by the Ruler of Sharjah himself and the only government news site, which operates under the purview of Sharjah Media Centre – the media and communications arm of the government of Sharjah."
Upon Paige O'Neill's keen interest to visit Sharjah and share her experiences in the field of CX, Sharjah Media Centre is looking into opportunities to expand on her expertise and share her research with the emirate during IGCF 2016. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Reem Al Hashimy opens 10th WAN-IFRA Middle East Conference
posted on 16/04/2015

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State, yesterday opened the 10th WAN-IFRA Middle East Conference, being held under the theme "Connecting Content, Reach and Revenue," at the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Dubai Festival City, UAE.
The two-day event, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers in cooperation with Al Bayan Newspaper as a strategic partner, is being held under the title "Imagine it's 2020."
Among those who attended the conference were Dhaen Shaheen, Chief Executive of Print Sector in Dubai Media Inc. (DMI) and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Al Bayan' Newspaper Group, Manfred Werfel, Deputy CEO, Executive Director Competence Centre Newspaper Production, Saleh Al-Humaidan, managing director of Al Yaum Media House, the leading publishing house in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and Ibrahim Al Abed, Director General of the National Media Council.
In his keynote address, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State and Director-General of Dubai Expo 2020 Office, said, "There are strong bonds between World Expo in Dubai in 2020 and the effective role to be played by the media in the coming five years."
She expressed the desire to build partnerships with the approved media outlets, adding that media technologies have paved the way for millions of people to share media tools, since they were earlier confined to news agencies and broadcast stations.
She added, "Today, with a few hundred dollars, we can have a voice file and share it with audiences across the world."
Al Hashimy reiterated that news and mass media are not only confined to writers, broadcasters and professionals but can also be represented by a huge crowd of media professionals from all walks of life worldwide.
She added that the logo of Dubai's World Expo, which will be held under the theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future," embodies the "Communication" idea in Dubai and its future as well as the renewable vision aimed to achieve a promising future and progressive thinking.
She also said the World Expo in Dubai in 2020 will reflect the best in architecture, design and technology, urging the media to benefit from the available opportunities that the Expo would bring during the coming five years in order to spread them across the world.
Shaheen said, "We should take into consideration the diversities in peoples' way of thinking and interaction with the media as well as streamlining ways of gaining information."
He also noted that newspapers are still the most influential means of media for the political, economic and cultural elite and decision-makers worldwide.
Shaheen also added that the growth of digital media today depends mainly on traditions and values of traditional journalism. However, the newspaper industry is changeable in nature and requires more dynamics.
At the end, Al Hashimy toured the pavilions of the exhibition held on the side-lines of the conference. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Press Club, ANSA to organise Emirati-Italian Strategic Partnership on Tuesday
posted on 12/04/2015

Dubai Press Club, in collaboration with ANSA, Italy's largest multimedia company and one of the top companies worldwide, will organise, under the patronage of the Italian Ministry and Foreign Affairs, the Emirati-Italian Strategic Partnership Forum, on Tuesday, 14 April in Dubai.
Director of Dubai Press Club Muna Busamra said that the event aims to increase the club's role in developing the media industry and enhance professional cooperation with local, regional and international media outlets. More importantly, she continued, the forum will boost media cooperation between UAE and Italy as well as explore the prospects of cooperation in vital sectors in both countries.
For his part, ANSA's CEO Giuseppe Cerbone said that the event aims to provide the means to increase communication, commercial, economic and cultural cooperation between Europe and the Arab World, and in particular between Italy and the United Arab Emirates.
Senior officials and government representatives will take part at the Emirati-Italian Strategic Partnership, including Director General of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Dubai Hamad Buamim and Director General of National Media Council and Emirates News Agency, WAM, Ibrahim Al Abed.
Leading figures from Italy will also be present including Italian Ambassador to UAE Giorgio Starace, EU Ambassador to UAE Carlo De Filippi, among other important representatives of Italian companies operating in the United Arab Emirates.
ANSA will provide Italy and Europe with multimedia coverage of the conference in Italian, English and Arabic. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


twofour54 wins top honour at 2015 Digital Studio Awards
posted on 16/03/2015

twofour54 was named the winner of the ‘Best Editing Award' at the 11th Digital Studio Awards ceremony in recognition of the post-production team's technical innovation and breadth of work covering regional and international television and feature films.
Maryam Al Mheiri, Chief Operating Officer at twofour54, said, "It is our vision to become the regional hub for content creation and receiving Digital Studio's Best Editing Award is testimony to our commitment to serve excellence to clients who choose to produce their projects in Abu Dhabi."
"Our post production facilities are designed to meet the needs of our clients, whether they are looking to work on feature films, television dramas, TVC's or corporate videos. I am proud of our team's achievements as we look ahead to twofour54 continuing to build a sustainable media industry in the capital, ready to service projects of any scale," she added.
twofour54's post production team, led by Ali Salloum, Senior Edit Producer, worked closely with AFM films and Emirati director Ali Mostafa, on his film, "From A to B" which was produced by Image Nation. The team was awarded for their editing as they managed to reduce the first cut of the movie from 140 minutes to 100 minutes within a more restructured time frame and without losing the integrity of the storyline.
Recently released in the UK, the critically acclaimed film, which world premiered at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, revolves around three long-time friends who travel on an adventurous road trip from Abu Dhabi to Beirut in memory of their lost friend.
The Digital Studio Awards acknowledges individuals, organisations, and companies that have contributed to the broadcast and production industry. twofour54 has previously won Digital Studio's ‘Post Production House of the Year' in 2011 and 2012, and was voted ‘Studio of the Year' in 2010 and 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid visits Government of Dubai Media Office
posted on 09/03/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on Sunday visited the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO).
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed was briefed by Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office, Mona Al Marri, on the office's contributions and achievements that focus on enhancing the local government's communications with local, regional and international media.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed was also briefed on GDMO's projects and initiatives for 2015.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed directed the Media Office's team to pursue innovation and unleash their creative thinking to come up with new ideas that support the country's broad developmental ambitions.
During his meeting with GDMO's top management, His Highness praised the office's efforts and expressed his appreciation for its strategy that empowers young UAE nationals and gives them the opportunity to participate in the field of media.
Concluding his visit, a group photo was taken for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed with all employees of the Government of Dubai Media Office. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Film and TV commission reduces its processing fees
posted on 05/03/2015

The Dubai Film and TV Commission, DFTC, the organisation committed to establishing Dubai and the UAE as a premier filming destination for local and international productions, is pleased to announce that it has reduced its processing fees to all filmmakers and producers in Dubai.
In its commitment to ensuring an easy, cost effective and outstanding filming experience to filmmakers and producers, DFTC has reduced the processing fees from Dh800 to Dh500 per application for each project filmed in Dubai. Permit applications must be submitted a minimum of five (5) business days prior to the first filming day, and location fees remain the same as per fees structure on DFTC website.
Jamal Al Sharif, Chairman of Dubai Film and TV Commission and Managing Director of Dubai Studio City, said, "One of DFTC's goals and objectives is to develop initiatives to reduce cost of media production in Dubai and with this we are moving in the correct direction. We know that every dirham spent in productions makes a big difference to the producer, whether it's a big budget film, TVC, TV series or a corporate video. We are really keen to provide a filming experience to those producers that is cost effective, inclusive of all facilities they get in well-known production cities and with a full wide range of locations and advanced infrastructure." Jamal added, "The media industry lives off creative and innovative people, hence providing an efficient and flexible film production environment in Dubai is important for the growth of pool of talents. We have an ongoing vision and plan in doing so, and it is essential for us to ease the production process for all filmmakers and producers. We are working on more initiatives to further reduce costs for filming in Dubai, which will be announced in the near future."
Since its establishment in 2012, DFTC has been embracing an ongoing plan to ease film production in the city, and has introduced a number of initiatives and projects to ensure a seamless filming process, and to facilitate the emirate's production industry. Another key initiative introduced by DFTC last year is the Automated Registration System, which was launched in June 2014 to streamline the permit application and approval process for filmmakers through an automated script clearance and film permitting system.
Registration to apply for a filming permit is quick and easy. Applicants will be asked to provide company details, documentation supporting your establishment (e.g. trade license) and passport and visa copies of the named manager on the trade license. Once a request has been approved, the applicant will be sent login credentials via email.
The system will automatically store their information, so the applicant will not be required to re-enter it for each application. Applicants are urged to keep their company information updated in the system, including trade license renewals. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi launches at IGCF 2015
posted on 24/02/2015

Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, yesterday launched the new website, the first news website of its kind in the emirate of Sharjah. The launch took place during the first session of day two of the fourth International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2015) in the presence of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and senior communication officials from government departments within the UAE and around the world.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre (SMC), said, "The launch comes in line with the directives of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to step up and improve media structures as well as dispatch cohesive message of Sharjah to the world." The website includes news, reports, investigations and columns that target all segments of society in Sharjah, UAE and beyond. Featuring dedicated sections on the UAE, the Arab region and the world, the website also provides a round-up of the economy, culture, arts, sports, health, technology, and research studies.
SMC Chairman added, " represents a comprehensive journalistic bundle that offers access to serious, objective and meaningful content to address perceived audience needs. The website is managed by a team of experienced professionals who endorse the best journalistic standards. The launch of the website comes as part of a number of initiatives that aim to develop media and communication strategies within Sharjah." On his part, Osama Samra, Director of SMC, said, " is an important value addition to Sharjah's cultural and knowledge landscape, and articulates SMC's vision to keep pace with developments locally, regionally and internationally. The portal provides content that conforms to the highest professional standards of accuracy, integrity and fairness." He added, "The launch of the website is the latest step in a long journey of media development in Sharjah. The emirate holds the distinction of being home to the first newspaper in the UAE in the early 1920s. Since then, Sharjah has come a long way in all fields, including media, and we are determined to further develop this sector in the emirate." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Ruler of Sharjah inaugurates International Government Communication Forum 2015
posted on 23/02/2015

H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, yesterday inaugurated the fourth International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2015) in the presence of guest of honour General Michel Sleiman, former President of the Republic of Lebanon (2008-2014).
In his opening speech, Sheikh Sultan said, "Public communication, particularly that represented by live radio and television programmes where people call in with their concerns on important social issues, is crucial for the exchange of information and messages between the government and the people. Such initiatives help the public to better understand the aspirations of the government. They are also vital in engaging citizens and society and introducing government policies, legislations and services to the public." He observed that such programmes have led to an improvement in the dialogue between citizens and officials and resulted in changing social behaviour. "Public programmes are an important tool to engage stakeholders, including citizens, civil society, and the media in the nation-building process." He confirmed that such communication activates the process of democracy through informing the people about government policies and triggering a healthy debate on their effectiveness. They also, consequently, help drive government policy and shape public opinion.
Sheikh Sultan stressed the importance of internal communication and follow-up to ensure smooth progress of operations and processes in all government departments. In addition, the role of external communication in engaging citizens, consolidating a spirit of national responsibility and supporting national initiatives at all levels and in all domains was also highlighted.
In his keynote address, General Michel Sleiman, 12th President of the Republic of Lebanon, said, "The development in the areas of information and communication technologies has effectively impacted the lifestyle, mind-set and values of people. Today, direct and indirect media have penetrated the minds of men, homes, offices, factories, barracks and trenches. The public can now hear and see officials addressing them directly, eliminating the role of the mediator." The former President of Lebanon added, "If a government is to convince the public of its goals, the public must prompt the government to hear its concerns and aspirations, and meet its growing demands. Despite the fact that the media is still a successful channel of persuasion, it only flows in a single direction, especially if the media lacks freedom and objectivity. Effective communication, on the other hand, is richer and more humane for it allows the exchange of thoughts, measures reaction, and encourages participation. Furthermore, communication today is no longer limited to public speaking and includes modern technologies and governance techniques as well." Cautioning governments about their inadequate channels of communication, General Sleiman said leaders and governments that hesitate to communicate with the public will eventually create barriers and cause bureaucracy in administration and institutions. He further pointed out that for communication to be based on trust and efficiency, it must not only answer the needs of the public, but also be characterised by precision, transparency and objectivity. More importantly, it must be understandable, sustainable, comprehensive, and timely.
On the steps needed to ensure a better relationship between the government and the public, General Sleiman said, "We must spread the culture of communication between officials and the public and create the right environment for its dissemination in a way that is independent of any influences from legislative, executive and judicial authorities. We need to enact laws that protect communication from any political arrogance. We must fight strict media censorship, and not restrain the media with dictatorship. Last but not least, officials need to leave their ivory towers and get closer to the public." The opening session of IGCF 2015 began with an address by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre (SMC), who pointed out that the current economic and geopolitical developments, which have cast their shadow on the entire world, place greater responsibility on global and regional governments to explain their internal and external policies openly and transparently.
He said the time when the type and sources of information were controlled by governments is long gone, and is now replaced by an era of interaction and dialogue in which the public has the ability to express its opinion about events in home countries and countries around the world.
He stressed that the speed of delivering information and influencing the public is creating a challenge for some governments due to their administrative nature. However, the emirate of Sharjah looks at this challenge as an opportunity to develop this aspect of government work, as effective government communication that is based on transparency and objectivity has become one of the main factors that characterise effective governance.
Sheikh Al Qasimi added, "Today we are in a time of freedom in sharing information and opinion, thus the knowledge of citizens and their ability to communicate are as important a measure as the strength of a country's army or economy. No one can deny the power of armies in resolving conflicts, but governments around the world realise that an army may withhold a story or impose an opinion for some time, but it will not be able to limit the spread of counter-story or restrain impressions and ideas all the time." He also stressed that SMC under the directives of the Ruler of Sharjah, has taken upon itself the task of developing and empowering government communication departments in the emirate of Sharjah, and sharing this experience with the other emirates and across the region and the world. He said such efforts are designed to help government communication departments reassess their important strategic role and adapt their scope of work to fit with modern and world-class government communication matrixes.
SMC Chairman identified four necessary steps that must be taken to improve the performance of government communication departments. These include realising and promoting the new strategic role of government communication among government officers and officials, conducting a professional and objective self-assessment to measure the administration's ability to apply the principles of government communication in daily operations and the application of a comprehensive and ongoing training plan, as well as hiring appropriate persona for appropriate positions.
Concluding his speech, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi thanked the forum's strategic partners and sponsors, which include Emirates Airlines (Airline Partner), Arabian Gulf Mechanical Centre – BMW (Official Car), Getty Images, twofour54 and Microsoft (Content Partners), Sky News Arabia (Regional Media Partner), The New York Times (International Media Partner), Thomson Foundation(Training Partner), National Media Council, Al Khaleej newspaper, Al Bayan newspaper and Dubai Radio (Media Partners), National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), as well as Pink Caravan, Tim Hortons and Expo Centre Sharjah (Partners).
The opening session was also attended by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister for International Cooperation and Development, Sheikh Ahmed bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Ajman Ruler's Representative for Administrative and Financial Affairs, Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Seaports and Customs, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sheikh Khalid bin Essam bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Director-General of the Department of Information and e-Government, Rashid bin Ahmed Al Sheikh, Chief of the Emiri Diwan, Major General Hamid Mohammed Al Hadidi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, Abdullah bin Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia (2010-2013), Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (2004-2005), Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (2004-2014)and Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004) and James Rubin, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under President Clinton (1997–2000), in addition to a number of political figures, media representatives, academicians, thought leaders, and local, regional and international government communication professionals.
Held under the theme "Specific Actions...Better Results", IGCF 2015 discusses the immediate actions needed today to ensure a better relationship between the government and the public using effective and clear government communication mechanisms. The forum hosts a group of global experts in the field of government communication to identify the actions required on the international and local levels to further activate the role of government communication. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


twofour54 and Etisalat partner up to spotlight local productions
posted on 12/01/2015

An extensive collection of films produced by twofour54's creative lab is available for subscribing viewers to enjoy on Etisalat's video on demand (VOD) platform, eLife OnDemand, as well as Etisalat's eLife Video Packs. This initiative comes as a result of the on-going partnership between twofour54 and Etisalat which aims to highlight local talent from the film making industry and reinforce Arabic content.
40 creative lab films and music videos will be shown, some of which have previously participated in Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival in New York and the UK's prestigious Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival. Most recently, four different creative lab projects were submitted to Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2014, with one winning Best Short Documentary in the Emirates Film Competition. Three more creative lab films took part in the 2014 Dubai International Film Festival, one of which scooped Best Film Award at the festival's Muhr Emirati competition.
Commenting on the partnership, Maryam Al Mheiri, Chief Operating Officer, twofour54, said, "twofour54's creative lab intends to support young talents and provide them with opportunities to develop their skills and experiences through the appropriate media platforms. As a result, we have witnessed great strides in the output of quality of content delivered by our young creative talents." Maryam added, "This initiative is an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to highlight their creative work through an established platform, showcase their projects to broader audiences, and motivate others to explore their creative potential." "twofour54 creative lab's films can now be accessed on Etisalat's VOD which is testament to the quality of work our members are achieving and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Etisalat and bringing high-quality, home-grown content to the audience," she added.
Etisalat's Vice President of Home Services, Rashed Al Abbar, said, "As well as delivering top class TV content and entertainment to homes in the UAE, Etisalat is actively seeking new means of supporting the community of local artists and filmmakers. Through our wide reach in the UAE, we are excited about introducing a new platform for award-winning home-grown talent to show case their skills and creativity. Overall, our partnership with twofour54, one of the leading media hubs in the UAE, helps promote locally produced content and enhances the UAE's film industry." Etisalat's eLife TV launched OnDemand, its VOD service, in 2011 with a library of films from major regional and international studios that includes a variety of Hollywood, Hindi, Arabic and much more content in different languages to reach out to all demographics in the UAE.
twofour54's creative lab is home to more than 10,000 talented community members who are passionate about creative industries, including film, music, TV, animation, gaming and publishing. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Twofour54 will train Saudi journalists
posted on 09/01/2015

Noura Al Kaabi, chief executive of twofour54, attended the official launch of the Saudi Broadcasting Corporation's (SBC) new media training centre in Riyadh. SBC recently signed an agreement with twofour54, which will allow its employees to enrol in Tadreeb, the training section of twofour54, which offers courses in television directing and reporting, radio programming and news production.
"Providing continuous training and skill-development opportunities to keep up with the fast-paced growth of the media industry and to enhance the chances of employment for young Arabs is crucial,” Ms Al Kaabi said.
Abdul Rahman Al Hazza, SBC president, said: "The corporation is working to implement a comprehensive development plan that seeks to put media knowledge to use in the field in order to spread creativity among the trainees.” – The National -


Sharjah Ruler establishes Sharjah 24 news service
posted on 06/01/2015

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has issued administrative resolution No. (1) of 2015, establishing the Sharjah 24 news website under the purview of Sharjah Media Centre (SMC).
According to the resolution, the daily e-news website will have Sharjah city as its headquarters and may open, upon a resolution issued by the SMC chairman, branches or offices within the UAE or abroad.
The resolution defines the objectives of the news website as:
1) To be a reliable reference for daily news - in Arabic and English - about events taking place in the emirate of Sharjah and the UAE;
2) To capture interest of members of the public through delivery of diverse, interesting news services;
3) To provide accurate, reliable information in coordination with local and federal competent authorities.
The website will transmit news of the emirate of Sharjah in particular and those of the UAE in general through the open internet space and cover local and federal political, economic and social events with complete transparency and integrity. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi Media signs Memorandum of Understanding with RAI COM
posted on 29/12/2014

Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RAI COM, the leading Italian television operator working across public service, broadcasting, radio, satellite, and digital platforms.
The strategic agreement was signed in the presence of Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, Chairman and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media, and Luigi de Siervo, Managing Director of RAI COM, during the Globe Soccer event which took place at Atlantis Hotel in Dubai.
Commenting on the collaboration, Al Mahmood, Chairman said, "This MoU is yet another significant milestone in Abu Dhabi Media's mission to build awareness of UAE's achievements locally, regionally and internationally, and reaffirms the nation's leadership position as an international cultural, economic and financial hub. Our partnership with RAI COM will facilitate knowledge transfer and best practice exchange across several facets of the media industry including production, publishing and digital." The MoU agreement between Abu Dhabi Media and RAI COM will ultimately unite both geographic markets and will allow each organisation to continue promoting tourism and cultural interests, in addition to creating awareness of EXPO 2015 and EXPO 2020, which are set to take place in Milan and the UAE, respectively.
Luigi de Siervo, Managing Director of RAI COM said, " The signature of this agreement between RAI Com and AD Media represents for RAI the act for a future and long lasting mutual cooperation. It also confirms the willingness of the two countries to develop a continuous partnership. The first objective is to grant a complete coverage and detailed information about Expo 2015 in the UAE. This will pave the road for a successful EXPO 2020 taking place in the UAE. By signing this agreement AD Media and RAI Com will follow the tradition of the partnership started with Ferrari and continued with Alitalia looking together towards a bright and successful future." The strategic partnership will see Abu Dhabi Media work in close cooperation with RAI COM on brand logistics and production, with each organisation benefitting from the resources and support through a series of communications and initiatives aimed at promoting activities to diverse audiences across local and international markets. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mona Al Marri named Most Influential Arab Media Personality in 2014
posted on 22/12/2014

The Arab Union of Electronic Media, AUEM, has honoured Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office and Chairperson of Dubai Press Club, Mona Ghanem Al Marri, for the "Most Influential Arab Media Personality in 2014", in recognition of her contributions for the industry, including the Arab Media Forum.
The AMF is organised annually by Dubai Press Club since 1999.
The honouring ceremony was part of the "Electronic Media Awards" held on Saturday in Cairo, Egypt, wrapping up the 4th Arab Electronic Media Forum. The event attracted host of Egyptian and Arab media figures, writers and intellectuals.
Mona Al Marri expressed her appreciation and gratitude for the Arab Union of Electronic Media and the organisers of the Electronic Media Forum for electing her among Arab media icons. She said: "I am honoured to gain this appreciation in Cairo, the capital of Arab media. I would like to avail myself on this opportunity to convey to you greetings of UAE media community wishing this promising forum all the success".
She added: "Dubai Press Club has always kept pace with the changes and developments in the Arab media scene, and we are rather eager to take a proactive role in shaping media reality to provide high quality content. We are quite confident that Arab media can cope with latest international industry trends, showing highest level of professional competency." Al Marri further stated that organising the Electronic Media Forum in Cairo integrates with the role Dubai undertook years ago and contributes to providing a new platform for developing media in the region.
Concluding her remarks, Mona al Marri said that the media industry will witness fast-paced changes over the coming few years, stressing that media workers are expected to be ready for these changes to positively tackle the challenges and opportunities they will bring along. She also congratulated the winners of the Electronic Media Awards different categories, wishing all the success for the forum's organisers and participants.
In recognition of its efforts, the Arab Union of Electronic Media also elected "Dubai Press Club" (DPC) as the most important Arab media organisation supporting electronic and digital media for the same year as the Club has included topics related to the reality and future of e-media in all its round-the-year events.
Chairperson of Dubai Press Club, Mona Ghanem Al Marri and Director of the Club, Muna Busamra received the award.
Al Marri said the recognition is a motive for DPC to continue exploration of new avenues to further develop the Arab media, while promoting innovation and creativity as key prerequisites for media excellence.
Muna Busamra, said: "Cairo is the capital of Arab Media. DPC has always enjoyed strong relations with Arab media community generally and Egyptian media in particular. We are happy to have such relations, and we are keen to further develop through continuous exchange of visits and ideas. This cooperation will benefit the entire Arab media." The Arab Electronic Media Forum and Electronic Media Award honoured UAE daily Arabic newspaper ‘Al Emarat Al Youm', which came third in the Award's print journalism category, following ‘Asharq Al Awsat' newspaper in the first position and ‘Assafir' newspaper which was second. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


TECOM Investments strengthens ties with UK business community
posted on 11/12/2014

TECOM Investments recently visited the UK to present its innovation vision and strategy to an international audience and target companies, in line with the recently announced UAE and Dubai National Innovation Strategy.
During the trip to London, a delegation from TECOM Investments, led by Malek Al Malek, CEO of TECOM Business Parks, which included Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource Zone and Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of TECOM's Media Cluster, hosted UK companies from across the media, ICT and education sectors at a business and networking event. Malek Al Malek presented TECOM Investments' innovation strategy to the companies, who are potentially looking to expand their operations to Dubai, and drew upon TECOM Investments' new innovation initiatives as well as the wider benefits of doing business in Dubai and the Middle East.
TECOM Investments recently announced innovation-focused initiatives include the creation of Dubai Internet City's new Innovation Hub which will provide 1.6 million sq. ft. of dedicated space to around 15,000 knowledge and creative workers, as well as Dubai Design District's Creative Community. TECOM Investments will work closely with British and international companies to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, pioneer the development of new technologies and partnerships, and provide support services for London businesses setting up in Dubai.
The delegation also met with senior directors from London's Google Campus as well as from Level 39, Canary Wharf's innovative technology hub for start-ups, where the delegation exchanged ideas and best practice about ways to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. The delegation also heard first-hand about Level 39's innovation and accelerator programmes, and discussed ways to drive innovation within in5, DIC's innovation centre.
TECOM Investments is home to 4,500 companies across the ICT, Media, Education, Industrial and Sciences industries, with the majority of its European business partners from the UK, including the BBC, and British Telecom.
Bilateral trade between the UAE and UK has significantly surpassed the US$18.5bn target for 2015, and the two countries are working closely across all areas of business including financial and professional services, education, healthcare and infrastructure.
On the occasion, Malek Al Malek, CEO of TECOM Business Parks, said, "Innovation and entrepreneurship are the engines of future economic growth, and in line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's new innovation strategy and focused initiatives, we will continue to share best practice and ideas with international companies as well as global technology hubs going forward to drive Dubai's transition into an innovation-led economy.
"We are delighted to have also met with executives from UK companies who are exploring growth opportunities in the Middle East. Through the creation of industry specific infrastructure and business communities, TECOM Investments has attracted companies from around the world, including many well-known British companies, and the trip reflects our desire to further strengthen ties with the UK.
"With the recent launch of Dubai Internet City's new development, the Innovation Hub, we look forward to attracting more innovation specific centres, incubators, creative firms and entrepreneurs/ start-ups." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid: We expect our media to lead and keep up with the comprehensive development of the country
posted on 27/11/2014

Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has called local media organisations to continue their efforts in developing content and product of Emirati media to match the comprehensive development march taking place in the country and to bear in mind the citizens' best interest and needs.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid indicated the national achievements in economy and government services and requested media community to pick up equivalent development processes. He also called media to keep up with best international practices, attract international competences, utilise latest technologies and foster young Emirati talents.
His Highness expressed his gratitude and appreciation for local media and its significant role. He also stressed on their significant role in preparing young Emiratis and giving them the opportunities to acquire the required skills. Sheikh Mohammed also encouraged local media organisations to prepare the second the third tiers of leadership.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid asserted that to develop the Emirati media we must count on the efforts and innovation of young Emiratis capable of taking our media to new horizons during the next phase.
"We expect our media to lead and open doors for our young talents. As we need creative engineers, doctors and managers, we also need creative journalists and media workers. I would like to see young media leaders in the second and third tiers," said H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
He also expressed great confidence in Emirati media organisations.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid made his comments during the official inauguration of the second edition of the Emirati Media Forum (EMF). He was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Media Inc.
Held at the Emirates Towers, the forum attracted a host of writers, journalists, thinkers, editors in chief, senior officials from local media organisations and international media figures.
Organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the one day forum discusses several local media issues including the development of media content, the future of local media and the public's expectations. The forum also presents the unique experience of Abu Dhabi media in the field of Emiratisation. The forum also case-presents and discusses the creditability and the emerging role of social media in spreading rumours.
During the opening session, U.A.E. Minister of State and Chairman of Sky News Arabia, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, delivered the opening speech. Al Jaber asserted that the U.A.E. local media needs to become proactive and anticipative, provide deep analysis and interpretation for the current events, under carry its social and cultural responsibilities, deliver our message and voice to the world and reflects our sound peaceful culture.
Minister Al Jaber said that the local media is expected to take the initiative, duple the effort to reflect accurate image about our values and take an active role in presenting the reality of our religion, traditions and civilisation.
He added that the leadership has paved the way for us to excel in various sectors, take the lead and be the happiest nation. He indicated that all these achievements came real due to the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces.
Minister Al Jaber said, "Over the past years, U.A.E. media has registered many successes and achievements and we need to adopt balanced and objective strategy that shall contribute in enhancing and bolstering U.A.E. creditability regionally and internationally".
"When I call for a proactive role, I do not mean exaggeration but rather I call our national media to be an icon for ethics and professionalism" Al Jaber urged the U.A.E. media to explain and echo the government's political views and promote the global positions of U.A.E..
For her part, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office and Chairperson of Dubai Press Club, Mona Ghanem Al Marri expressed her gratitude to U.A.E. Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his continues support to the media sector, particularly media persons. Al Marri also noted the significant role of U.A.E. media in the development process of the United Arab Emirates ever since its establishment 43 years ago.
In her speech, Al Marri pointed out to the challenges facing the local and international media, namely the challenges presented to traditional media by social media, which have introduced new wave of competitions. She also touched on possible answers to challenges posed by social media, which can be encapsulated in creating good content, increasing interactivity and attracting the youth who constitute two-thirds of social media users.
Al Marri called on local media institutions to give media students more opportunity to partake in shaping the local media. She also emphasised on the importance of having confidence in young people's creative skills and innovative ideas.
The Emirati Media Forum, an initiative of Dubai Press Club (DPC), was launched in 2013 with aim of providing an out-of-the-box dialogue platform that looks into Emirati media and, in the same time, facilitate a fertile ground for young Emirati talents to come face to face with media professionals and elites. The DPC's Emirati Media Forum focuses on U.A.E. domestic media, taking into consideration its interaction with the regional and international media through dedicating such unique platforms as the Arab Media Forum and the Arab Journalism Award to discuss on issues impacting regional and international socio- political scenario.
Concluding the opening session, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid posed group photos with the officials of EMF's strategic partner, Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), EMF's official partner, Etisalat, EMF media partner, Abu Dhabi Media, as well as with the Dubai Press Club team. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014 calls for a fully connected world
posted on 21/11/2014

Chief Executive Officer of twofour54, Noura Al Kaabi, has wrapped up the 2014 edition of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit (ADMS) by telling delegates that with 7 billion connected individuals forecast by 2020, the media and e-commerce industry may soon be managers of the world's largest and most relevant "mall".
The speech provided an optimistic and forward-looking conclusion to a third and final day of lively, insightful discussions between industry leaders and innovators.
Al Kaabi praised the high calibre and diversity of the speakers, and encouraged all ADMS guests to play their part in driving and sustaining a future media in MENA and beyond. The key challenges now were reaching out to those people not connected and growing and nurturing our young people so that they can fully realise their potential.
"I believe the Abu Dhabi Media Summit is a clear example of how we are all helping to build a positive profile of the Arab World. The future is bright and within the grasp of young people in the Middle East and everywhere," Al Kaabi said.
Earlier in the afternoon, a panel entitled "A Race for the Exits: The Rebound in IPOs and Dealmaking" saw speakers encouraging investors to look beyond tangible assets such as real estate and instead consider IPOs in the fast-growing technology sector.
Co-founder and Managing Director, CedarBridge, Imad Ghandour, said that "given the stability of local currencies and continuous growth of industries, the GCC has a great recipe for success", while Mona DeFrawi, Founder and Managing Partner, IPOQuest Partners, explained that "technology IPOs have high growth momentum and the ability to grow globally." Tom Urquhart, a presenter with Dubai One, moderated the next panel on "Accelerating Start-Ups", which looked at the challenges for new technology businesses in Abu Dhabi and beyond.
Ramesh Jagannathan Research Professor and Associate Dean of Engineering, NYU Abu Dhabi, told potential innovators "you have to believe you can create magic" to persuade others about the benefits of their start-ups. Nina Curley, Managing Director, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, said that Abu Dhabi is perfectly positioned to become a dynamic global hub for entrepreneurs with "the pieces now coming together for building a viable ecosystem".
A session led by Issa Aghabi, Head of Investments at twofour54, compared the differing approach of two companies – one local and one global – to starting a business in the same sector in MENA. Magnus Olsson, Founder and Managing Director, Careem, explained that his ground transportation company focussed on providing a reliable service based on a call-centre model made accessible to local customers.
In contrast, Jambu Palaniappan, Regional General Manager of Middle East and Africa, Uber, set out his view that technology scales better than people and that companies could avoid the burdens of call centres by relying on technology. The panel generated an insightful discussion on the pros and cons of each business structure.
The final session of ADMS 2014 was an interview between Badr Jafar, Managing Director, Crescent Group and Fadi Ghandour, Founder and Vice Chairman, Aramex, on the challenges facing innovators in raising finance in the MENA region. Ghandour remarked that "innovation is the ability to take pieces of knowledge and use them to affect people's lives – the process requires a symbiotic relationship between innovators and industry". Ghandour stressed that the Arab world had to adopt more of a solutions-based mentality and do more to provide the financial and legal structures needed to support business. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Queen Rania Al Abdullah opens Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014
posted on 19/11/2014

The Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014 (ADMS) was officially opened yesterday by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan to an audience of more than 500 media industry leaders from around the globe. The theme of this year's Summit is 'Driving and sustaining a future media in MENA and beyond'.
Queen Rania delivered the opening speech with a clear message that the Arab world needs to reclaim its narrative from extremist groups in the region. "A minority of irreligious extremists is using social media to rewrite our narrative... hijack our identity and rebrand us." With images of violence and destruction from the Arab world projected on screen, Her Majesty insisted that these images do not represent the vast majority of Arabs.
"They're alien and abhorrent to the vast majority of Arabs -- Muslims and Christians. And they should make every Arab across this region seethe. Because they're an attack on our values as a people. And on our collective story." However, the Queen noted that the moderate majority of Arabs are equally to blame. "They say, a story is told as much by silence as by speech". Well, our silence speaks volumes. We are complicit in their success." But Her Majesty asserted that the fight against extremists goes well beyond that battleground and it is a fight between moderates and extremists all over the world.
"It's a fight for the future of Islam and the future of the Arab world. So, it's a fight that moderates have to win," adding that "Winning also depends on our ability to conquer the philosophical battleground as well. Because at the heart of this assault is an ideology." Queen Rania questioned the increase in the number of followers and fans of radical groups in the region. She explained that these followers are "from classrooms in which they were never challenged to think for themselves, and where they learned an outdated curriculum. From societies in which a quarter of their peers are unemployed, where there's inadequate social security to afford a life of dignity, and where opportunities to help to change the status quo are few and far between." Her Majesty added that "the only way we can save our youth from the sirens' call of extremism is to provide them with a better alternative. "The satisfaction of a job, the relief of justice, the solidarity of equality, and the fulfilment of participation. We provide real opportunities for change and advancement." Her Majesty presented the audience with the options facing the region today: "we either develop our region, or we let others dismantle it. Find solutions to the challenges, or watch the challenges avalanche. Harness the tools to drive the Arab world forward in the 21st century, or let others use those tools to drag us back to the dark ages." Education reform topped Her Majesty's to-do-list for the region: "Our strategy must be long-term. And that starts by investing in quality education for all... Education reform doesn't come cheap. But the price of ignorance is far, far greater." She gave the example of EDRAAK, an initiative that Her Majesty launched earlier this year to bring Massive Open Online Courses to the Arab world in Arabic. She also thanked His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces for his support for the initiative and noted that online learning is the best opportunity to achieve quality and modern education, which the Arab World desperately needs.
Commenting on quality education for all, Queen Rania asserted that it must include girls as well as boys. "Because educated girls strengthen their nations' economies, they prioritise the health and education of their own children and they help to build stable societies more resilient to radicalisation." She said.
Queen Rania then added that "education alone isn't the solution. We need jobs as well. Recent estimates indicate that we need to create over 100 million jobs by 2020 to absorb new entrants into the labour market."
Acknowledging the job creation challenge, Her Majesty was nonetheless optimistic about emerging opportunities in the region: "The good news is that new industries are emerging. The digital landscape is evolving. And internet connectivity and mobile technologies are creating new horizons for entrepreneurs. Arab internet users are growing at around 20 per cent annually. Mobile penetration at around 110 per cent." Her Majesty also highlighted the potential of e-commerce in the region, as well as an ICT sector that is set to hit US$20 billion in 2020.
A burgeoning technology sector. An insatiable consumer market. And a huge youth population hungry for opportunity. The conditions for explosive growth are within reach.
Talking about the resources the Arab World possess, Her Majesty said, "Our region has the values, the money, the minds, the youth, the technology, the market, the networks, and the motivation to tap into these reserves and create lasting change." Concluding her speech, Queen Rania said, "For the sake of each one of us...for Islam and the Arab world...for the future of our young people, we must create a new narrative and broadcast it to the world. Because if we don't decide what our identity is...and what our legacy will be, the extremists will do it for us." The Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, welcomed Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Sheikh Nahyan Al Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Social Development, Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and a number of media industry guests to Abu Dhabi, and reflected on the importance of the media industry to the regional economy.
"The media sector is becoming increasingly far ranging and relevant. From a regional perspective, our industry represents an ever-increasing and significant contributor to the regional economy," Al Mubarak said.
He went on to describe the market opportunity in MENA, which is being driven by the relentless increase in connectivity in the region. He gave comment on how media innovation is transforming the way students receive and engage with information, and how twofour54 is responding with a number of initiatives to support the industry's development.
"All of twofour54's investments are giving young U.A.E. Nationals unprecedented access to a thriving industry in which they can learn their craft, improve their skills, develop new ideas and help shape the media sector of the future." "Through education and training the media industry has an unrivalled potential to contribute to the development of future generations, formally and informally, directly and indirectly, in this region and globally. That is both a huge opportunity and a great responsibility," he added.
In introducing Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, he reminded the audience of Her Majesty's strong advocacy of education in the Middle East and North Africa, saying "I can think of no better person to open our Summit on the future of media in the MENA region and beyond." This year's three day programme features a series of panel discussions, interviews and presentations by seasoned industry leaders as well as new players. Each day is focused around a particular industry topic: content creation, distribution and financing.
Day two of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit - which is open to the public - will kick off tomorrow with a presentation by Facebook's Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn. This will be followed by a panel discussion on technology, social media and women in MENA, featuring Princess Ameera Al-Taweel, Founder and CEO of Time Entertainment and Dalya Al Munthanna, CEO of GE Gulf, among others.
Robert A. Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard will take to the stage to discuss the gaming sector, while Gerhard Zeiler President of Turner Broadcasting International will be interviewed on the future of broadcasting. In a keynote speech, CEO of Imax Corporation Richard Gelfond will address the next big thing for the big screen.
The disruptive impact of online video and the 'second screen' on the medium of television will be discussed by panellists from Twitter, Sky News Arabia, Istikana and BBC Future Media. Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC, and twofour54's Chief Legal Officer, Greg Sweeting will participate in the final panel discussion of day two, which will look combatting content piracy in the digital age.
Abu Dhabi Media Summit is one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in the field of media and has quickly established itself as an essential date on the global media leadership calendar. Powered by twofour54, the invitation-only event hosts a select number of industry leaders, building upon Abu Dhabi's position as the Arab world's creativity and media hub. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Demand for local content will spur rapid MENA media growth, says new Abu Dhabi Media Summit study
posted on 19/11/2014

Untapped demand for local, Arabic content will spur rapid regional media growth over the next five years, according to a new study unveiled at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit yesterday.
The joint study undertaken by management consultancy Strategy & and Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi, twofour54 , also found that accelerated adoption of mobile technology, evolutions in paid and digital media, and a new wave of unique youth-produced content will be key factors in driving media growth in the region.
Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi, twofour54 , said: "The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) media industry is undergoing a fascinating transformation. Cultural shifts among the region's young people have spawned a tremendous creative energy, changing the way media is both consumed and created." The MENA media market's evolution is encouraging regional players to revisit their business models and explore investments in high-quality local content. With MENA one of the strongest opportunities for media industry growth, these findings should encourage global players to re-evaluate their presence in our region," she added.
The study looks in-depth at three key media sectors in the region: gaming, audio-visual content, and e-commerce.
Gaming set to grow exponentially "Gaming in the region is growing faster than the global average, exceeding even other fast-growing emerging markets such as Russia, China, and South Korea", said Jayant Bhargava, Partner with Strategy&, formerly Booz & Company.
"Gaming is also the fastest growing media segment in the Middle East, expected to nearly triple in size in the coming years -- from US$1.6 billion in 2014 to US$4.4 billion in 2022", he added.
During this period, growth in boxed games will slow down and mobile will become the dominant platform, taking the largest share of the market by 2018. Tablets will be key to this and should represent up to 20 percent of the mobile market within a year or two. The study expects the total gaming segment size to mirror the size of the TV market in seven to eight years.
To date, global games from international developers have captured the lion's share of opportunity, roughly 90 percent of the Arab market. However, games localised for the market are expected to capture over 15 percent of the market in three to five years. International players are expected to increasingly Arabise their content for the region. Regional developers are also localising global games and creating original games for the local market.
"The study highlights the influence of the Arab Digital Generation in driving the growth of gaming. On average, people between the ages of 18 and 24 in the region spend eight hours per week playing games. In many MENA countries, including Saudi Arabia, more than 50 percent of Internet users play games online. The digital facility of young people is contributing to the Middle East's emergence as a gaming development hub", added Bhargava.
New trends in audio-visual content The audio-visual content market in MENA is seeing many trends that could significantly change the industry. The most notable of these is the transition to paid media. Pay TV is forecast to grow at 10.3 percent per year, compared to ad-based TV's 7.8 percent. Satellite TV continues to dominate the sector, accounting for more than 95 percent of TV distribution.
The study predicts significant growth in digital delivery of audio-visual content, driven by the emergence of youth-produced content and proliferation of new distribution platforms such as IPTV and over-the-top (OTT) sites. For example EyshElly, a programme created by UTURN Entertainment, set up in 2010 by three Saudi university students, received approximately 2.2 million subscribers and 245 million views on YouTube.
The growth of e-commerce E-commerce will be a critical source of digital growth. The MENA e-commerce market was worth US$2.3 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow 13 percent annually to 2019. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are the dominant markets, and will continue to make up almost 40 percent of the total market to 2020.
Drivers of growth in e-commerce are similar to those in other digital segments: faster connectivity, improved supply landscape and the ubiquity of smartphones. Mobile capabilities are increasingly important - mobile commerce is expected to reach 20 percent of e-commerce revenue in 2015, up from 7 percent in 2011.
Increasing numbers of young people are contributing to e-commerce revenues. Forty percent of Internet users aged between 15 and 35 made an online purchase in 2012, compared with 22 percent of users aged between 49 and 65.
Finding the way forward The media sector in the Middle East is in the early stages of a significant evolution. Regional and international players will need to focus on four areas to help the sector reach its full potential: education, talent, infrastructure and work environment, and financing.
Education in digital media will require greater recognition and support from governments. A number of jobs in the media space did not exist a decade ago, and schools in the region are generally not offering students the background they need to pursue these careers.
In addition to education, on-the-job training is a critical component of growing the talent base. With training in technologies such as movie production, 3-D effects, gaming development, companies can vastly increase the productivity of small-scale media producers.
The growth of the media sector will also demand infrastructural and work environment changes. For example, the rise of economic zones and incubators in the region in the last 15 years has made it much simpler for global media companies to quickly ramp up operations. The availability of studio space, state-of-the-art technology, and high-speed broadband has translated into limited setup costs for companies. Media cities, such as Abu Dhabi's twofour54 , also offer a favourable regulatory environment, with incentives such as tax relief, and reduced red tape. In addition to these, large players should also consider the kind of working culture they need to create to attract the Arab Digital Generation.
Lastly, independent content producers in MENA seldom have access to content financing mechanisms prevalent in mature markets. Access to debt, slate or gap/deficit (mezzanine) financing in a structured manner will be critical to meeting the demand for quality, local Arabic content.
"Although media cities like twofour54 do offer access to advantageous financing, the MENA region still lacks the structured access to financing that developed markets can boast. The availability of more funding is critical to enable the industry to meet the skyrocketing demand for local content", concluded Al Kaabi. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


NMC conducts coordination campaign on "Digital Drugs" issue
posted on 18/11/2014

The National Media Council, NMC, has continued communication and coordination efforts with the relevant authorities to gather their opinions and suggestions on the subject of "Digital Drugs," as referenced in various media, especially social media. "Digital drugs" are an audio file or mp3 of ambient music or sounds that are enhanced with a specifically targeted binaural beat or isochronic tone frequency. This frequency is meant to replicate the cycles of particular brainwaves.
The NMC is seeking a clear image of the situation to identify procedures that can be adopted in this regard, while confirming the need for concerted efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of this issue.
Juma Obaid Al Leem, Director of the Media Content Department at NMC, said the Council had underlined the importance of providing balanced, responsible, honest media content that respects the privacy of individuals and protects various categories of the community from potentially harmful elements.
He pointed out that the NMC had already issued a special system of media content standards, in addition to regulating the content of advertisements based on proposals and visuals submitted by media outlets in the State. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014 to kicks off on Tuesday with regional, international leaders of media industry
posted on 17/11/2014

The fifth edition of Abu Dhabi Media Summit (ADMS) is kicking off on Tuesday morning, 18 November, at Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, chaired by Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority (EAA).
This thought-provoking event will delve into important industry topics through a series of discussions attended by top-tier global media players and their emerging-market counterparts.
Commenting on this highly anticipated event, Noura Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer of twofour54, organisers of the summit, said, "ADMS is one of the industry's leading events that bring key players together on one platform and has quickly established itself as an essential date on the global media leadership calendar." Al Kaabi explained that the Summit will feature a unique combination of high-profile panel sessions, interviews and presentations. The Summit will also place emphasis on local participation and community engagement by offering workshops and opening its doors to the public for the first time.
:: Objectives of Abu Dhabi Media Summit.
Discussing the objectives of ADMS, Noura Al Kaabi said: "ADMS aims at further enhancing Abu Dhabi's position as a leading media hub regionally and globally. We are looking to stimulate the media industry in the region, connect it with the global network and keep up at the forefront of such a dynamic industry." "Moreover, ADMS gives those interested in the media industry an opportunity to gain insights from global industry leaders and learn more about the industry's promising future and investment challenges in MENA and beyond." :: Why is this edition of ADMS important? The CEO of twofour54 explained that the value of the fifth edition of ADMS lies in the theme of the Summit, which is ‘Driving and Sustaining Future Media in MENA and Beyond' and the focus of each day on a key topic. Day one of ADMS 2014 will discuss the importance of local content generation and the need to create home grown intellectual properties. The second day of the programme will examine content distribution, while on day three, panellists will explore innovative financing options that fast-track the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Al Kaabi said: "ADMS 2014 brings together international top-tier leaders and entrepreneurs of the media and technology industry. It will explore opportunities to help advance the media industry in Abu Dhabi and the region with experts in venture capital and creative content." "In a first for the Summit, a special study will be launched on day one that outlines growth opportunities and challenges in the MENA region's rapidly growing media industry." As ADMS opens its doors to the public for the first time on days 2 and 3, the local audience is asked to register their names on the Summit's website to take the opportunity to engage in rich conversations and benefit from the insights of a large number of industry leaders present in the capital.
Al Kaabi added: "Flat6Labs, the strategic partner of twofour54, will officially launch its Abu Dhabi office at ADMS this year. Flat6Labs experts will share their experiences through participating in two workshops discussing "Monetising Digital Content" and the "Growing Online Education".
:: Featured Speakers.
"Queen Rania Al Abdullah will open this year's Abu Dhabi Media Summit and will give the opening keynote address. Featured speakers include Mark Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer, The New York Times Company; Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Group; Gerhard Zeiler, President, Turner Broadcasting System International; Robert A. Kotick, President and CEO, Activision Blizzard; JB Perrette, President, Discovery Networks International; Princess Ameera Al-Taweel, Founder and CEO, Time Entertainment; and H.E. Riyadh K. Najm, President, General Commission, Audiovisual Media Saudi Arabia." said Al Kaabi.
:: Key Topics.
Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54, highlighted a number of key topics that ADMS 2014 will discuss in sessions that feature industry experts including: 1. The Media in MENA: Localising and Monetising Content. Featuring: Sanjay Rania, General Manager, MENA, Fox International Channels; Rashed Al Harmoudi, Vice President, Communications, Mubadala; and Amira Rashad, Former Head of Yahoo Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
2. The Transformative Role of Social Media in the Middle East. Featuring: Richard Allan, Vice President Public Policy - Europe, Middle East and Africa, Facebook; Faisal Abbas, Editor-in-Chief, Al Arabiya News (English); Ayman Safadi, CEO, Path Arabia; and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Journalist.
3. The Next Big Thing in Future Media. Featuring: Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Group; Raghav Bahl, Founder and Director, Network 18; and JB Perrette, President of Discovery Networks International.
4. From Hollywood to Bollywood, is Arabwood next? Featuring: Mukund Cairae, CEO, Middle East, North Africa, Turkey & Pakistan, Zee Network; Ali Mostafa, Film Director; Joe Pichirallo,Chair, Undergraduate Film & Television, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Kanbar Institute; Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios; and Mick Flannigan, Head, Abu Dhabi Film Commission.
Al Kaabi revealed the list of Summit partners, which includes a number of prestigious local and international organisation and they are: Strategic partner: Mubadala Knowledge partner: Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) Airlines partner: Etihad Airways Media partners: Abu Dhabi Media, Sky News Arabia, Al Arabiya, and CNN Support partners: Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Flat6Labs, Indivirtual, Porsche Centre, Rosewood Hotel Abu Dhabi, APCO Worldwide, Careem, Taghreedat and Eventpad.
Facts and Figures of ADMS 2014 - More than 600 leaders and professionals in the media industry from the region and the world gather at ADMS - More than 70 speakers from different nationalities - 14 panel discussions - 3 feature presentations - 3 key interviews - 2 workshops. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. supported Egypt during a critical time: Egyptian Prime Minister
posted on 15/11/2014

CAIRO: Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has expressed profound gratitude to the U.A.E., led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for standing by his country at this critical time in the history of the region.
'U.A.E.-Egypt ties are deeply rooted in history. Egypt was among the first countries to recognise the then-emerging U.A.E. Union in 1971. Historical events and honourable stances show how these fraternal bonds were rock solid,' the Egyptian Prime Minister said while addressing a panel discussion for the Emirati-Egyptian media, organised by the Dubai Press Club (DPC) in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, under the directive of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Moderated by Mona Bu Samra, Manager of the DPC, the media forum was attended by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, U.A.E. Minister of State and Chairman of the Coordination Office of the U.A.E.-funded Development Projects in Egypt; Mona Ghanim Al Murri, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office and Chairwoman of the DPC; Ibrahim Al Abed, Director-General of the U.A.E. National Media Council; and a large assembly of media leaders and editors-in-chief from both countries.
Addressing the current events rocking parts of the Arab world, the Egyptian Prime Minister called for collective action and the mobilisation of forces to abort the vicious schemes and ferocious onslaught against Arab values and the future of Arabs, warning that the plan in question was based on a well-plotted, destructive strategy.
He added that Egypt and the U.A.E. had set a strong model for countries that share a common destiny.
Mahlab also issued a stern message against the threat of terrorism, which had bared its teeth to the nations and peoples of the region, saying, "Egypt is in a war against terrorism which will have heavy human and financial costs. However, Egypt, armed with confidence, courage, and persistence, is resolved to moving forward towards development." At this critical juncture in the history of the Arab nation, Mahlab emphasised the urgent need for a united front to safeguard his country's future.
Taking the podium, Dr. Al Jaber noted that he had sensed, during his meeting yesterday with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sisi, a new spirit of national action driven by an ambitious vision for the future, based on hope, sincerity, and positive energy.
He hailed the U.A.E.-Egypt ties as being deeply rooted and based on transparency, clarity, concord, and a common destiny and goals.
Addressing the media community, Dr. Al Jaber said they needed to be objective, accurate, and conscious of the repercussions of current events and their impact on the future of the Arab world.
He also urged the media to highlight and introduce a tolerant image of Islam to the world through the promotion of moderate Islam; advocacy of its tolerant, moderate values and teachings; and denunciation of extremism and violence.
Speaking about the selection process of U.A.E. projects in Egypt, he stated that the U.A.E. leadership's directives were quite clear from the outset that these projects were designed and implemented to improve the lives of the common Egyptian people.
Asked about investment opportunities available to Emirati investors, Dr. Al Jaber said there were numerous promising investment options for U.A.E. investors within the ambitious Egyptian economic development plan. He also called on Emirati investors to enter into joint investment partnerships with their Egyptian counterparts to positively contribute to improving economic growth in Egypt in the medium to long term.
Mona Al Murri; Mohammed Yusouf, Chairman of the U.A.E. Journalists Association; and Diaa Rashwan, Chairman of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, also spoke at the event. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Queen Rania of Jordan to inaugurate Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014
posted on 12/11/2014

Queen Rania of Jordan is expected to inaugurate the Abu Dhabi Media Summit (ADMS) 2014 on Tuesday, 18 November, according to an official statement.
The queen will give the opening key note address at the Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi.
"We are honoured to welcome Her Majesty Queen Rania to officially open this year's Abu Dhabi Media Summit," Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of the Media Zone Authority said.
"Queen Rania is known for her passion for education and advocacy of The Arab World, particularly youth, and these issues sit at the heart of the Summit's theme of ‘driving and sustaining a future media in MENA and beyond," she added.
The event, which is taking place between 18-20 November, focuses on the future of the media in the Middle East. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid: Training and qualifying Emirati media cadre is a national responsibility
posted on 26/09/2014

U.A.E. Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has directed senior executives at Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) to continue their efforts in developing media contents to match the country's developmental ambitions and support the comprehensive progress taking place nationwide.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed affirmed that the U.A.E.'s media "Must adopt state-of-the-art technologies and welcome national media cadre, most particularly young talents, and provide them with adequate opportunities to take part in establishing a found Emirati media industry and present an enlightened media message that addresses the entire world." Sheikh Mohammed's comments came during a meeting held at the headquarter of Dubai Media Incorporated. The meeting was attended by the Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Directors of DMI, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum asserted that the U.A.E. media is expected to keep up with rapid international changes. He assured that the media community holds huge responsibility as a major partner in the development and modernisation process by attracting attention to the successes and achievements, and, on the other side, monitoring faults.
Sheikh Mohammed said, "We expect our media to stand up to its responsibilities, to be aware and enlightened and to reflect people's expectations and ambitions." During his visit, Sheikh Mohammed reviewed DMI's development and modernisation plans, and he attended an orientation on the establishment's future projects. Sheikh Mohammed directed DMI's executives to commence the infrastructure and national cadres' development projects. His Highness assured that qualifying Emirati media cadre is a national responsibility.
His Highness called DMI to build new production studios in Dubai Studio City which will help Dubai to take the lead as media production hub. Sheikh Mohammed also assured that the existing buildings of DMI in Dubai must be preserved to stand witness to the development of media in the United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Mohammed said, "Years ago, when we decided to build our knowledge-based economy, media was one of the major sectors that we considered. Today, we see the fruits of our efforts manifested in the growing media community which makes our country a regional and international media hub." The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Dubai Media Incorporated, Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of TV and Radio in DMI, Ahmed Saeed Al Mansouri, and a number of DMI's executives and senior officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


twofour54 invests in Arabic online games developer Falafel Games
posted on 13/08/2014

twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi, has announced that it is investing in Falafel Games, a designer and producer of Arabic Massive Multiplier Online (MMO) games targeting the MENA audience.
The current investment was concluded alongside MBC Ventures and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) bringing the total cash invested in the company to around US$2 million. This is the latest move by twofour54 to invest in early stage growth companies in the media and entertainment sector bringing its venture portfolio to 13 companies.
Commenting on the investment twofour54's Chief Executive Officer, Noura Al Kaabi said, "Our investment in Falafel Games provides further evidence of our commitment to create a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem at twofour54. We want to support local talent and help start-ups fulfil their creative potential, which is vital to building and sustaining our media and entertainment industries." Founded in 2010, Falafel Games is a leading developer for regional MMO titles that are culturally relevant and speak to Arab audiences. The company's founders; Vince Ghossoub and Radwan Kasmiya, have extensive experience in game development both regionally and internationally. The company aspires to be the leading developer of Browser and Mobile MMO Games in both the Middle East and the Muslim World through highly relevant content.
It is the producer of "Knights of Glory" -the first Arabic MMOSG (Massive Multiplayer Online Strategy Game) with Arabic themes, winner of the Readers' Choice Awards for 2011, 2012 and 2013, and currently the best-selling browser MMO in the MENA- and boasts an impressive pipeline of future titles.
Twofour54 gaming sector is estimated to be worth more than US$1 billion in the Middle East and US$70 billion globally. Reports suggest that the Middle East is responsible for more than US$100 million in annual revenues from the online gaming industry.
Twofour54 is committed towards creating a thriving Arab entrepreneurial ecosystem across all media, entertainment and digital platforms. As an active investors in the industry, twofour54's current investment portfolio includes Tahadi Games, Falafel Games, Jawaker, SAE Institute, D1G, PopArabia, T-Break Media, Akhtaboot, Nibras, Istikana, as well as investments in specific content projects.
In addition to the above, twofour54's has also recently announced a partnership with accelerator, Flat6Labs, provides seed funding, strategic mentorship, workspace and direct support for start-ups through an expansive network of partners and entrepreneurial activities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Twofour54 chief executive receives honorary degree from Washington DC school
posted on 11/08/2014

Noura Al Kaabi, the chief executive of Twofour54, has been given an honorary degree by an US institution.
The head of the commercial arm of the Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority received the award from the Protocol School of Washington during the institution's Global Education Summit in the US capital.
Afterwards, Ms Al Kaabi spoke on women in leadership roles to an audience of more than 250 people, sharing her experiences of being a female chief executive in the Middle East.
She advised listeners to own their own destiny and believe in themselves and to identify personal strengths. They should define success on their own terms based on individual values, passions and vision.
"I am honoured to be recognised by the Protocol School of Washington,” Ms Al Kaabi said.
"The school is a trusted counsel to governments and industries worldwide, and has been instrumental in equipping professionals such as myself with the unique skill sets required to succeed in today's multicultural business environment.”
The accolade was not the first for Ms Al Kaabi, a member of the Federal National Council.
Foreign Policy magazine previously named her one of the leading global thinkers of last year, the first Emirati to be featured on the 100-member list, for her contributions to supporting young talent and promoting online Arabic content.
Forbes Middle East named her one of the 30 most influential women in government last year, while two years ago Arabian Business magazine named Ms Al Kaabi media chief executive of the year.
Ms Al Kaabi is also a board member of Abu Dhabi Media, the parent company of The National.
She also sits on the boards of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, Image Nation and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
The chief executive holds a bachelor's degree in management information systems from U.A.E. University, in addition to completing a leadership programme at the London Business School.
The Protocol School in Washington conducts private training for corporations and government bodies, with experts from The Hague, militaries, international academia and corporations. – The National – Read more:



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