TECOM Media Cluster Registers Year-on-Year Growth in 2011 with 284 Companies Setting up Base at Cluster

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From left to right: Mohammad Abdulla, Managing Director-TECOM Investments Media Cluster, Andrew Hurt, General Manager, Xerox Emirates, Thomas Kuruvilla, Managing Director, Arthur D Little Middle East, Najam Khawaja, Chairman DDB, Mehmet Noor Deen, Managing Director, Alaan TV

Consultancy, New Media, Production, Media and Marketing Services and Freelance Segments Drive Growth

Dubai-UAE: 15 February, 2012 – TECOM Investments’ Media Cluster, which includes Dubai Media City (DMC), Dubai Studio City (DSC) and International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), today announced it has experienced steady growth in the number of companies registered in 2011 with 284 companies setting up base at the cluster

Key segments that saw new additions at TECOM Media Cluster in 2011 include freelancers, consultancy, event management, media and marketing services, new media as well as television, film and radio production.

Digital audio firm Dolby Laboratories, Sony Pictures (CPT Holdings, Columbia), Fremantle Media, Scholastic, Christie + Co and Groupon are among the top global brands that established their operations at the TECOM media free zones.

In 2011, TECOM Media Cluster also saw its business partners including ITP Publishing Group, MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Center), Leo Burnett, outdoor advertising specialist JCDecaux and digital printers Costra Group expanding their commercial and business operations.

Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director, TECOM Investments’ Media Cluster, said: “The year 2011 has proved positive for us. On the back of an industry uptrend, a good line-up of businesses set up base at the Media Cluster. Additional investments in potential growth areas and operational expansions were also witnessed. The favourable year-on-year trend for the cluster reflects the development in the region that continues to attract a large community of media professionals.”

Total ad spend in the Arab-speaking media market (including GCC, Levant and Pan-Arab media) in 2011 was US$ 14.3 billion, compared to US$ 13.7 billion in 2010, marking a four per cent year-on-year increase.  UAE- and Saudi Arabia-based media also saw an increase in ad spend of 1 per cent and 9 per cent respectively during the same period. “1

However, no significant downturn is expected in the content-production space. According to a recent study by the Arab Advisors Group’s on TV Series Production Houses in the Arab world, a sample set of 26 production houses in the GCC, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria were seen to have produced 47 television series productions in the first nine months of 2011, compared to 57 in 2010. “2

Another area of significant growth potential is e-books.  Arabic content is only four per cent of global content, with a small contribution of Arabic e-books.  The internet features over 600,000 Arabic books of which only two per cent can be read on smart-phones and tablets. “3

This is a tremendous opportunity, given the immense potential in the smart-phone market in the MENA region.  For example, according to research sponsored by Research in Motion, 95 per cent of smart-phone users in the MENA region download apps, with six apps being downloaded on a monthly basis.  E-content has monetizing potential as one out of four smart-phone users spend at least US$50 monthly on apps. This is particularly insightful in a scenario where close to 61 per cent of Arabic speaking smart-phone users prefer apps in Arabic. “4

Mohammad Abdullah added: “The media environment in the Middle East is rapidly changing, buoyed by new satellite channels, the Internet and new media that offer more choice and alternative information to encourage industry reforms. Investors across the new media value-chain are particularly looking at areas such as content creation and delivery. With the media poised to serve as a platform to promote public debate, transparency, accountability and respect for diversity of views and opinions, the time is now right for international industry leaders to explore fresh areas of opportunity in the Middle East.”

Launched with 99 companies back in 2001, Dubai Media City marked its 10th anniversary celebrations last year. Dubai Studio City, a dedicated free zone for media and broadcast production sector, and the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), a cluster dedicated to the printing, publishing, packaging and graphic art industries, were created as logical extensions of the tremendous growth witnessed by Dubai Media City. TECOM Investments’ Media Cluster has grown to over 1,800 companies/business partners, creating a media ecosystem offering significant opportunities for synergies between the companies and professional community.

From left to right: Mohammad Abdulla, Managing Director-TECOM Investments Media Cluster, Andrew Hurt, General Manager, Xerox Emirates, Thomas Kuruvilla, Managing Director, Arthur D Little Middle East, Najam Khawaja, Chairman DDB, Mehmet Noor Deen, Managing Director, Alaan TV

Sources:
“1 Y2011 Advertising Markets (Jan-Dec) Report, Pan Arab Research Center.
“2 TV Series Production Houses in the Arab World, Arab Advisors Group Media Strategic Research Service, October 2011
“3 Ameinfo.com, December 12, 2011. Available from http://www.ameinfo.com/284073.html
“4 Research on smart-phone usage in the MENA region, conducted by Real Opinions & AppsArabia

About Dubai Media City
Strategically located at the crossroads of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Dubai Media City, a member of TECOM Investments, is rapidly emerging as the region’s media hub. The City provides an advanced infrastructure for media-related businesses to operate globally out of Dubai. Dubai Media City is the place where activities Publishing, Music, Film, New Media, Leisure & Entertainment, Broadcasting, Media & Marketing Services, and Information Agencies will thrive. The facility offers an environment that allows companies and individuals to operate with collective synergy and freedom.

Companies based in Dubai Media City have the unique edge of commercial benefits derived from our free zone status including 100 % business ownership and exemption from personal income and corporate taxes. Since its official opening in January 2001, Dubai Media City has grown to become a thriving media community of over 1400 companies and hundreds of freelance media professionals. Several global media giants and promising entrepreneurial ventures have joined this unique community.

About Dubai Studio City
Launched in Feb, 2005, Dubai Studio City (DSC), a member of TECOM Investments, offers a complete technical and community infrastructure catering to the film, TV, radio production and broadcast industries. Being built on an area of more than 20 million square feet . DSC aims to attract production and broadcast companies, as well as a wide range of support services, including providers for animation, dubbing, makeup, costume design, set design and construction, casting, telnet agencies, telecine, and laboratory facilities. DSC will feature pre-built studios, sound stages, workshops, backlots and stage areas, post-production studios, and satellite communication services. The cluster will also house film & television academies, commercial offices, entertainment & retail spaces, and hotels & residential facilities to accommodate crews and cast. DSC’s Location Approval Services (LAS) provides a single window for applying for shooting permits.

About International Media Production Zone
Dubai’s International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), a member of TECOM Investments, seeks to create a unique cluster environment for media production companies from across the industry value chain, and from across the world, to interact and collaborate effectively. IMPZ will be exclusively catering to the graphic arts, printing, publishing and packaging activities. As a master developer, IMPZ will provide an environment of growth by building key facilities, investing in infrastructure, and forming a unique free zone that incorporates industrial, commercial, residential and community service projects under its mantle. The vast complex will be housed on a territory of over 43 million square feet of land, in the heart of commercial Dubai.

The IMPZ initiative is part of Dubai’s vision to develop itself into a global media hub. It will provide a pro-business environment, sophisticated technology and community infrastructure to support and foster the growth of media production. www.impz.ae

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