CENTER OF CINEMA

Dubai 2018 | TELECOMS, IT & MEDIA | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City, on synergies between the free zones and boosting content creation.

Majed Al Suwaidi
BIOGRAPHY
Majed Al Suwaidi is Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City—members of TECOM Group. As the Managing Director of this integrated creative ecosystem, Al Suwaidi plays a key role in positioning Dubai as an international media hub. Prior to this role, Al Suwaidi was Managing Director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City. Among his other responsibilities, he is a Board Member of Young Arab Leaders. Al Suwaidi holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from American University in Dubai and an MBA in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University.

Can you tell us more about your successes in the past year?

Over the last few years in the media sector as we develop and mature our focus has been on the creation of value. Attracting new businesses into the zones is happening organically and at a pace that we are comfortable and pleased with. We need companies to not just come in but continue to create value. We are pleased with the outcome of these processes and have upgraded a great deal of both physical and virtual infrastructure. We also see a great deal of communication taking place with our business partners in our different locations. Today, we run Dubai Media City, Dubai Production City, and Dubai Studio City. Each entity is focused on a certain aspect of the media sector that we serve and comes with a unique customer outlook.

What synergies are generated between the three free zones?

The industry has evolved rapidly. Previously, it was much more segregated, though now it is in fact the opposite. There is digital production and content creation that builds on these platforms and this creates the platform for more people to work with each other. Since publishing is somehow slowing down, digital companies can utilize this industry in a different way. Such collaborations across all brands are critical to our sustainability in the long run. Our business model is built on the success of businesses, and it is only possible when there are many synergies taking place across all these brands in our zones.

What is your strategy for new media?

There are more things happening on the ground at a much quicker pace. We partnered with YouTube to launch the first YouTube Space in the Region, which will result in lending more support for this sector of the market. We created in5 Media, a support mechanism for content creators to be able to produce whether an actor, light expert, or a makeup artist. We want to bring all of them under one roof and want to train more people in these sectors, which is a critical factor for the industry to grow strategically. The industry requires skilled light technicians, sound technicians, editors, and more. It is a wide spectrum and we want to serve the entire spectrum by providing on-ground support. We have film makeup workshop for example, which many people are interested in. Today many do not want to spend large sums of money on film equipment so we support them; we ask them to execute their idea on our platform, and we provide the equipment, support, and workshops so that they can upgrade their skills. We are creating a vibrant community that will benefit others far into the future.

How do you attract large productions to Dubai?

Like any place around the world, it starts with being known for something. Today, Dubai has a stellar reputation in the international market for many different aspects. This results in more things taking place on the ground. At a certain point in time people want to explore new and exciting places. The UAE in general is an exciting and new place. Dubai is only 40 years old and most of it was built in the past 25 years. We have time to develop into an even better city. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum wants people to deliver quality but also quickly. It is great to have a progressive government that is always looking at how we can evolve and develop. There are many reasons why people would want to come and film here; the question is how we make it attractive for them to come and for that we do tailor-made approaches, designed to address their needs. There are many movies filmed in Dubai City and it is a great benefit to all.