How did the UAE become a successful media hub?
Complex Made Simple

How did the UAE become a successful media hub?

The growth and success of media organizations is a testament to the tolerance and fairness established and maintained in the UAE. Through the past few decades, the country has successfully developed into a hub for new outlets, public relations companies, advertising firms, as well as print, production and broadcast facilities.

Take for instance Dubai Media City, which at the turn of the 21st century, was viewed as a government establishment aimed at boosting the UAE’s media presence. It has now progressed into a haven for more than 2,000 companies that cater not just to the UAE, but the GCC and the MENA region.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, at his recent meeting with Arab media personalities participating in the 18th edition of the Arab Media Forum, said that the media has an important role in enhancing the region’s ability to deal with current challenges, and developing new solutions to overcome the problems that hinder its development.

 The road to success

At the Arab Media Forum, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum appreciated the media’s efforts, highlighting its role in helping the region deal with the various changes that have taken place in the Arab world over the past few years.

It’s been more than 50 years since the launch of Abu Dhabi Radio in 1966 and Abu Dhabi Television in 1969. After the official formation of the UAE in 1971, the country welcomed a score of newspapers, television channels, and radio channels. The advent of satellite television changed the game, with broadcast traveling across national borders to cater to regional and international audiences. The establishment of the free zones in the UAE, at the turn of the century, was the next big step that invited international media organization to establish a base in a tax-free environment.

Hosting internationally acclaimed news channels such as BBC, CNN, and Al-Arabiya; news agencies such as Reuters and AFP; production houses such as Sony and Showtime; and publishers such as Forbes, the UAE now has successfully turned into a regional media hub.

The UAE’s strong leadership and its incorporation of the media industry into its ambitious plans for the nation’s growth have helped the country become a successful knowledge economy. This coupled with the UAE’s fast-paced adoption of technology, given the rise of new and digital media, have fuelled the country to the 27th position in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index and the 17th spot in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness report. The UAE’s success in these reports outranks its GCC neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait.


People driving media success

The media industry in the UAE has played a vital role in boosting human engagement and bringing people together. As the UAE transitions along with the rest of the world in adopting the latest social media and online trends, the numbers showcasing consumption speak volumes about the success of the media industry in the country.

“There is an international audience that is very clearly interested in knowing about Dubai and knowing about the success stories that have happened here,” said Majid Al-Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City who has witnessed the success of the media industry in the UAE.

Anup Oommen

Anup Oommen is a Business Editor at MediaQuest Corp. He has been a journalist for the last eight years and has extensive insight and expertise in international relations, macroeconomics, sports and financial news.

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