The Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014 (ADMS) was officially opened today by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah 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’.
The Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, His Excellency Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, told delegates: “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.”
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 UAE 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 her opening speech, Queen Rania delivered 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.”
Queen Rania called for greater development of enterprise and education across the region to help counter extremism. 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.
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“These images don’t represent me anymore than they represent you. 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,” she said.
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.