WAN-IFRA partnered with Dubai Production City, Dubai Media City for first Middle Eastern Media Leaders eSummit

The initiative brought together regional and international media experts for knowledge sharing.

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) partnered with Dubai Production City and Dubai Media City to launch the first Middle Eastern Media Leaders eSummit that took place between 3-5 November 2020.

The three-day virtual event brought together regional and international industry experts and thought leaders to share insights, predictions, and key recommendations for managing people and operations effectively as economies around the world look to a post-Covid pivot. Topics covered discussed how to grow digital subscriptions, diversify revenue streams, learn from data, look beyond video, and manage artificial intelligence.

Reinforcing its position as a key business community for media production, particularly in printing, publishing, event management and digital content creation, Dubai Production City is the Industry Partner for the eSummit. Dubai Media City, as the region’s largest media ecosystem – and home to renowned institutions such as Reuters, CNN, CNBC, BBC, and more – is supporting as Strategic Partner. Other partners to this launched event are Facebook Journalism Project and Google.

Commenting on the partnership, Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City, said: “To remain competitive in a rapidly-evolving environment, the media industry needs to be at the forefront of the paradigm shift towards digital, something that has become more pronounced than ever this year. The forward-thinking policies of our leadership, who have prioritised the development of smart infrastructure and a knowledge-based economy, have paved the way for agile decision-making, particularly in the realm of media production and digital content creation.

He added: “A key learning for us is that the local media industry has built adaptability into its operations over time, and is able to absorb the impact of large and small-scale disruptions. This kind of broad scope and flexibility is an encouraging indicator of the industry’s health. We look forward to connecting and sharing insights with other regional and international experts at the inaugural Middle Eastern Media Leaders eSummit, and discussing the way forward collectively.”

Dr Saleh Al-Humaidan, Chairman of the WAN-IFRA Middle East Committee remarked: “As media professionals, we are among those at the forefront of these disruptions and developments, and play an important role through our duty to inform and educate. With the support of Dubai Production City and Dubai Media City, the Middle Eastern Media Leaders eSummit will connect like-minded media professionals and counterparts across the globe. We are confident that it will serve as a great platform to create and exchange meaningful dialogue on how we can adapt to the demands of an ever-evolving industry, especially now.”

The high-profile speaker line-up featured Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali, Founder of the Jordan Media Institute; Rula Amin, from the UNHCR Regional Bureau for the MENA Region;Laila Baker, Regional Director for Arab States; Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City; Ahmad Al Hammadi, CEO of Press Sector at Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI); Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief, The Straits Times, Singapore; Bruno Bianchini, Head of Global Partnerships, Google MENA; Korey Lee, VP of Data, South China Morning Post; Scott Armstrong, Editor-in-Chief, Arabian Business Dubai; Gregor Waller, Principal Consultant, WAN-IFRA Consulting, Germany; and Fares Akkad, Director of News Partnerships, Facebook.

Other speakers included Ken Harding, Senior Managing Director of Telecommunications, Media & Technology at FTI Consulting; Dr Mario García, CEO and Founder of García Media, USA; George Brock, Visiting Professor of Practice, Cass Business School at the University of London; Juan Señor, President, Innovation Media Consulting Group, UK; Lara Ayoub, Digital Media Strategist, Consultant and Content Creator, Jordan; Pål Nedregotten, Executive Vice President, Amedia AS, Norway; and Nicolas Fromm, Managing Director, NOZ-Digital, NOZ Medien & mh:n MEDIEN, Germany.