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Industry Forum: As it becomes easier to produce content, is the marketing and advertising industry less reliant on production houses?

We asked: as it becomes easier to produce content, is the marketing and advertising industry less reliant on production houses?

Yasser Obeid
Managing director, Aka Media


It’s not a yes or a no. Yes, hiring a videographer to shoot content is an option, but we are talking about purely social quick turnaround content. If you were to shoot a campaign involving a top TVC director, multiple locations and dozens of crew members, that’s a bit more difficult to pull off, and it will require a production company with the know-how of how to put this together. 

That said, marketing holding companies are building their in-house production companies capable of producing TVCs, and production companies in turn are putting together in-house creative departments to continue to be relevant. More often than not, they tend to be more cost-effective and efficient than their bigger, bulkier counterparts.

Aneesa Rashid
ACE and social media lead, UM


Whether it’s utilising creator-led content to tell an impactful brand-led story that drives influences or leveraging the power of dynamic content optimisation technology to curate hundreds, even thousands, of personalised brand experiences, consumers’ perception of content continues to evolve. 

As such, the marketing industry has become less reliant on traditional forms of polished content creation.

Through dynamic content, we can deliver relevant advertising communications tailored to our audience’s interests and behaviours, resulting in enhanced media performance. 

Why limit ourselves with a generic one-size-fits-all approach, when tech advancements allow us the capability to produce content that resonates with consumers. Content that can be refreshed in real time to stay up to date with the latest trends, promotions or even a brand new look and feel to avoid creative
wear out. 

Carol Matta
Senior group content director, Choueiri Group


With the rapidly changing digital landscape, we are seeing more user-generated content becoming powerful tools of influence, and brands acting as content creators to establish a stronger presence on social media. However, we cannot erase the fact that good quality content is still essential if one is to compete. With a fast-paced environment and the increasing need for a diverse mix of talents and resources, agencies and brands still rely on production houses in the process of bringing stories imbued with passion to life. Many production companies employ a healthy mix of internal and external resources to stay in the game of reshaping the consumer experience and entire industry. The players understand that the competition is intense, technological advancements are constant, creativity is vital and adaptability is key; so joining forces will do them more good than harm.

Ciaran Bonass

Executive creative director – AMEA, Virtue


Today’s advertising landscape has become even more complex, and we must find new ways to get in front of audiences in the spaces they occupy. This requires a more dynamic approach, whether that’s an hour-long documentary or TV show, a metaverse experience, an AI or AR build, or a social project. The remit of production has become increasingly more expansive and specialised to enable brands to participate in culture and provide true value.

Riebal Hmaydan
CEO, Phi Creative Agency


With social taking over the scene, clients are keen on having quick original authentic snackable content. Thus, they are relying on their audience to create and share content to increase engagement rates or on Reels and Stories developers who, with their mobile phones and a minimal budget, are creating interesting and attractive content that is authentic. 

There is still a role for the production houses, developing big-budget films, commercials or documentaries, but we could say there is a rise in Reels developers that are taking over the scene. 

Emad El Tawil
Director of production – Viola Producers, Viola Communications


It’s a yes and a no. It really depends on the medium.

Yes, production has become less complicated at basic levels due to the advances in the capabilities of smartphones. Some people can produce reasonable content at almost no cost. which may work well on TikTok. But the correct answer is ‘no’ because professionals understand the importance of creating a storyboard, planning, framing and directing a shoot. And they have post-production skills and use years of practical experience and acquired knowledge to reach the right target and create outstanding campaigns.

Hicham Soubra
Head of Fuelcontent Dubai


Even though agencies might be less reliant on independent production houses and even though some have an in-house production unit, independent production houses can’t become expendable to agencies. No matter how accessible it is to produce content, there is always a need for specialised production teams that can take it up a notch and produce more personalised content. 

Of course, it also depends on the content itself and the level of craft required. Some might be able to shoot content bites and interviews, but they will always need professionals to handle bigger productions, especially those heavy with post-production and CGI.

Nuha Bayoud

Associate director, Initiative


Content creators are jumping on the bandwagon of filming advertisements for brands. Arguably the videos are engaging, relatable, snackable, and native to their respective platforms. However, production houses carry key USPs that can be challenging to deliver with simply an iPhone and a back-drop. Quality driven by insight and data can have a multiplier effect on the success of a campaign, especially, when millions of brands are connecting with individuals daily. Ultimately, media investments backed by high-quality content are core to the success of any campaign – especially when there are clear KPIs to deliver on. Production houses not only carry years of experience and expertise within their field to create high-quality content, but also ensure that they are in line with a brand’s identity and overall marketing strategy. 

Pallavi Sharma
Director – business destination communications,
Dubai Economy and Tourism


Access to great camera phones and Photoshop software hasn’t made photographers obsolete, and in the same way production houses are and will continue to be an integral part of creative execution. Whilst marketers have more tools at their disposal now, production houses – the right ones – do more than just source equipment. They give us access to technical skillsets and design thinking that is bespoke to the creative, such as making a good visual great. As with every other industry, changing technology will disrupt the industry, and the ability to deliver production value will be key to survival and, ultimately, success.

Sahar Khan
Director of marketing, Bayut and Dubizzle


While it has become easier to produce content using pre-existing templates and software, quality storytelling and high-budget production are still niche skills that require extensive expertise. Brands that understand the importance of compelling content will still turn to production houses to execute campaigns which have unique messaging and powerful visual content. There is, however, less reliance today on traditional production houses for micro-campaigns due to the rise of social media platforms and user-generated content, thus giving brands the option to instantly purchase existing material and adapt it to fit their own creative needs. But, nothing can replace the bespoke offerings of a specialist production house, much like automation can never fully substitute human expertise. 

Samer Asfour

CEO, Nested VFX


Before social media and high-speed internet, a handful of TV commercials per year were all the video content that a brand ever needed. Now, that has scaled exponentially. Social media, streaming platforms, TV, and even billboards feed on video content. It is more challenging than ever to stand out. Consumers are ever more critical of the content they watch, especially with a skip button or scroll-down card in their hand. If you want your brand to be relevant or your marketing campaign effective, you need a trusted production partner who knows how to make compelling videos that work across the vastness of formats and resolutions.