The change of direction is the end result of a six-month strategic review, with the government-owned media company delineating its asset portfolio into two separate streams: public service and commercial.
Its UAE media – including Al Ittihad, The National, Abu Dhabi Al Emarat TV, Abu Dhabi FM, Star FM, Abu Dhabi Classic FM and Majid – will all play a public service role in part and will follow a new nine-point public service charter that has been approved by the government. A recently appointed Public Service Committee will oversee its public service remit and will report back to ADM’s board.
The group’s pan-Arab commercial assets – including Al Oula, Ana Zahra and zahratalkhaleej.com – will all be re-focused towards a female and family demographic. It is understood that its pay-TV operation will still roll out to the wider Middle East and the group will continue to develop ADMCsport.com audiences.
Malcolm Wall, CEO of Abu Dhabi Media, said: “We’ve been a number of things over the last few years. We’ve invested externally into games, into Vevo and into movies. The focus at this stage is getting our local media right – our local UAE media right and our Middle East media right. You won’t see us going out and buying a business outside the UAE or the wider Middle East, it’s really about developing what we’re doing organically to make ourselves much more effective. We’ve also, over the last couple of years, confused what our vision and what our objectives are.
“So with the help of some consultants [Booz & Co] who were across last summer – and I flew in and out to join them before joining full-time in September – we’ve re-examined each media; who it addresses and what its objective is.”
As for other group assets, no new products can be expected from Karkadann Games, leaving its longer term future uncertain. Abu Dhabi Media’s film development arm, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, will continue to honour its contractual obligations on existing projects and its Arab Film Studio initiative will be unaffected.
Abu Dhabi Media was established in 2007 and has interests in free and pay-TV, radio, publishing, digital media, games, feature films, music, digital signage, outside broadcast/production, and printing. Wall was named the new CEO of Abu Dhabi Media in June last year following the departure of Ed Borgerding in February. He took up his new position on 1 September.