DFTC unveils plan to make Dubai a hub for digital media

DFTC unveils ambitious 2020 Vision with a focus on digital media content production
Jamal Al Sharif and Omar Butti.
Jamal Al Sharif and Omar Butti.


Dubai Film and Television Commission (DFTC) today unveiled an ambitious plan to establish Dubai as a global media hub and support growth in the sector by stimulating digital media production.

The vision, in line with Dubai Plan 2021 that seeks to make Dubai the most innovative city in the world, will see DFTC focus on attracting and developing talent, nurturing a sustainable industry and fostering the latest innovations impacting the creative economy.

VIDXB, the region’s first annual event centred around the world of online video and content creators, is an important first step in realising this vision. The event will bring together content creators, fans and industry professionals to collaborate, share knowledge and exchange ideas. The event has already confirmed visionary YouTube star, Casey Neistat along with gaming and musical sensation KSI as the first among a series of guests who will be attending the two-day event this December.

Jamal Al Sharif, chairman of the Dubai Film and TV Commission, said: “Since 1999, Dubai’s media sector has been built from the ground up and is now established as an important contributor to our economy. The way people interact with and consume media has changed significantly since then, and our 2020 Vision is focused on ensuring Dubai adapts to this rapid change and embraces this age of digital content production. We have ambitious goals, and are already working hard to reach them through the launch of platforms like VIDXB.”

Omar Butti, executive director of innovation at DFTC, added: “VIDXB is the first major initiative to be launched under DFTC’s new vision, and embodies our commitment to supporting growth in the online content sector. A first of its kind for the region, the event will bring together the entire content community, from the creators themselves to fans and industry experts. Some of the world’s most prolific online storytellers will showcase the very latest innovations that are disrupting the industry, and by connecting local talent with global experts, will aim to support the development of this cutting-edge industry in Dubai. We are very excited to have Casey Neistat and KSI on board and look forward to them sharing their experience in content creation and building a brand in the digital space.”

Casey Neistat, a New York based filmmaker, is the writer, director, editor and star of the HBO series The Neistat Brothers and producer of the indie film Daddy Long Legs. Neistat’s innate storytelling ability and love for cinematography led him to work with major companies such as Mercedes and Nike where he helped redefine branded content specifically for the internet. Beyond his ever popular YouTube channel, with over 7.7 million subscribers, his audience has followed him to Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to hear his honest narrative and get a glimpse into the creator’s lifestyle. His daily vlogs have propelled him to the top echelon in the online video community world through which he set a new standard for the way digital creators interact with brands and vice-versa.

Joining Neistat is Britain’s KSI, who has gained an ardent following in the Middle East through his wide array of engaging YouTube content. From FIFA and skits to music and comedy, KSI has already amassed over 21,000,000 subscribers across his two channels and over 3.5 billion video views. True to his hardworking spirit, KSI will be continuing to grow his brand in 2017 with new and entertaining creations, with fans not only having a chance to meet him at the premiere event, but also a chance to hear him perform.

The event will also host a number of regional online stars including top foodie expert Chef Samar Ayoub, online gaming creator DvLZStaTioN, and lifestyle leader Noor Stars, who will act as on-ground creative content advisors as they interact with fans through meet and greets, panels and much more.

With more than half of the region’s population under the age of 24, according to the Arab Media Outlook 2016 – 2018, video and social networks are increasingly playing a more crucial role than any other media platforms. Produced by Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC), VIDXB will celebrate this new medium by bringing together fans and industry with over 40 creators from the region and beyond, in a curated program that will include keynotes, panels, and workshops as well as mentor sessions. VIDXB will also kick off a year-round series of programmes to promote local content, showcase emerging technologies, and facilitate skills development for Dubai's growing digital media talent pool.


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