It's hard to play down the effect Dubai Media City has had on the broadcast industry with major players like Showtime and MBC relocating to the free zone and floor space hard to come by. Now the time has come for Studio City to do the same for the region's production industry.
The volume of Arabic language production, coming out of Dubai for the pan-Arab region remains insignificant according to technology consultant Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH).
Its recent report claimed that 65% of Arabic series were produced in Egypt with Syria on 17% and Jordan 16%. A handful of Kuwaiti producers, catering to the Gulf market, account for the final 2%.
The report cites the main reason for Egypt's dominance as the traditionally high quality of its output. But as the advertising dollars hand more power to the Gulf, and Dubai Studio City puts the infrastructure in place, there is a real chance that Egypt could lose some of this majority share.
Syria has eaten into this lead previously through a combination of government subsidies and improved quality in both scripts and in the technical ability of crew. Dubai will need to replicate the latter two scenarios by encouraging writers to bring their scripts to the Gulf for production and by building a pool of talented and experienced technical crew.
The programme of incentives for this has already begun with the creation of the free zones at the emirate's Media and Studio cities. The final incentive will only come once, like Egypt, there is a showreel of popular, profitable productions in the can.