Media and Entertainment Sector in the UAE: Creating Growth Stories for Small and Mid-Sized Media Companies

Media and Entertainment Sector in the UAE: Creating Growth Stories for Small and Mid-Sized Media Companies

May 22, 2023

Media and Entertainment Sector in the UAE: Creating Growth Stories for Small and Mid-Sized Media Companies

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become one of the fastest-growing media hubs in the world. With a rapidly growing economy and a supportive regulatory environment, the UAE has become an attractive destination for media companies of all sizes and types. 

In addition to its strategic location, the UAE is also home to a highly educated and tech-savvy population. both sophisticated and demanding. This creates a rich and diverse market for media companies of all sizes, from established media giants to emerging startups and independent content creators.

In this blog post, we'll explore why the UAE is such a great media hub and why small and mid-sized media companies should consider offering their services in this exciting and dynamic market. The M&E industry has unending opportunities for all segments, but this blog primarily focuses on broadcasting, media production, and music industry opportunities in the UAE. 

This blog covers:

The Media and entertainment landscape in the UAE

One of the first business sectors in the Middle East to experience digital disruption was the media and entertainment (M&E) sector. The Middle Eastern media and entertainment market had a value of USD 30,349.4 million in 2020 and is projected to grow by 7.4% CAGR from 2021 to 2026 to reach USD 47,029.82 million. A few of the key factors propelling the market's expansion include rising trends in personalization and increased digitalization, as well as notable increases in online gaming, OTT, and internet advertising. The entertainment sector is anticipated to continue expanding through 2025 at a CAGR of 10.6% to reach USD 4.41 billion.

TV and Video: The largest entertainment consumer segment, valued at USD 219.0 billion, is still traditional TV and home video. By 2025, the global annual sales of web content, search portals, and social media will increase by USD 542.2 billion. By 2025, the television broadcasting market will increase its annual global sales by USD 79.2 billion. By 2025, it is anticipated that the film and video sector will increase its annual global sales to USD 83.3 billion.

Newspapers and Magazines:By 2025, the global annual sales of the newspaper and magazine publishing segments will increase by USD 32.6 billion.

Music Segment: Revenue in the digital music segment in the UAE is projected to reach USD 62 million in 2022. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2022-2026) of 9.46%, resulting in a projected market volume of USD 89 million by 2026. According to the Mena Cinema Forum, the UAE is set to join the world's top 10 leading markets for global box office revenues by 2030. § The UAE makes up 25% of the total OTT subscriptions in the MENA region, the second highest percentage.

Music Festivals: There are also several music festivals and events in the UAE, including the Dubai Jazz Festival, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Festival, and the Dubai Music Week. These events provide opportunities for local and international artists to showcase their music and connect with audiences.

Film Festivals: The UAE is home to several film festivals, including the Dubai International Film Festival, which attracts filmmakers and audiences from around the world. These festivals provide opportunities for filmmakers to showcase their work, connect with industry professionals, and learn about the latest trends in filmmaking.

Fashion Shows: As a cosmopolitan hub, the UAE hosts several prestigious fashion shows that cater to multiple audiences, and this provides many opportunities for event management companies and modeling agencies. Dubai Fashion Week, Arab Fashion Week, and Dubai Modest Fashion Week are just a few of the fashion shows that take place in the UAE throughout the year.

Opportunities in Broadcasting and Media Production 

The UAE is home to several major broadcasters, including Dubai Media Incorporated, Abu Dhabi Media, and Sharjah Media Corporation. These broadcasters produce a wide range of programming, including news, entertainment, and sports, which is distributed across the UAE and the wider region. There are also several private broadcasters in the UAE, such as OSN and MBC Group, which produce and distribute content across the Middle East and North Africa.

The UAE is also a hub for media production, with several companies specializing in producing content for television, film, and digital platforms. These companies offer a range of services, including pre-production planning, location scouting, casting, filming, and post-production editing. Some of the leading media production companies in the UAE include twofour54, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, and Blink Studios.

During the pandemic, people have adapted to technology, with social media, online video games, and video streaming platforms reporting massive growth. The maximum opportunities lie with digital media production in the UAE.

Opportunities for Music Companies

In the music industry of the Middle East, streaming services have also gained prominence. The region has seen significant growth in online listenership over the past few years as a result of increased customer adoption, technological advancements, and partnerships that have fueled growth for music streaming platforms.
With more streaming service providers looking to enter the market, the Middle East region has seen the launch of numerous streaming services in recent years, including Netflix and Spotify. In the UAE, YouTube announced the beginning of its paid Music and Premium services in September 2021.

Here are a few opportunities in the UAE music industry:

Music Distribution: Music distribution refers to the process of making music available to listeners through various channels, such as streaming services, physical media, and digital downloads. In the UAE, there are several companies that specialize in music distribution, including Anghami, the largest music streaming service in the Middle East, and Rotana, a record label and music distributor.

Music Labels: Music labels are companies that sign and promote artists, and help distribute and sell their music. In the UAE, there are several major record labels, including Universal Music MENA, Sony Music Middle East, and Warner Music Middle East. These labels work with local and international artists, and help promote and distribute their music across the region.

Music Production: Music production refers to the process of creating and recording music. In the UAE, there are several music production companies, including Crescent Enterprises, which has a state-of-the-art music studio in Dubai that is used by local and international artists. Additionally, there are several independent music producers and sound engineers in the UAE who work with artists to create high-quality music.

Opportunities for Modelling Agencies

Modeling is a thriving industry in the UAE, and there are many opportunities for aspiring models as well as established models looking to further their careers. Model agencies in the UAE work with fashion designers, retailers, and event organizers to provide models for fashion shows.

Here are some of the opportunities available through model agencies in the UAE:

Model Agencies: Model agencies are companies that represent and promote models, and help connect them with clients for fashion, advertising, and other modeling gigs. In the UAE, there are several model agencies, including MMG Model Management, which represents local and international models for fashion shows, photoshoots, and other events.

Photoshoots: Model agencies in the UAE also provide models for commercial and editorial photoshoots. These photoshoots can be for a range of clients, including fashion brands, magazines, and advertising agencies.

TV Commercials: TV commercials are another area where model agencies in the UAE can provide opportunities for models. Many brands, both local and international, shoot their commercials in the UAE, and model agencies work with these brands to provide models for the commercials.

Event Promotions: Model agencies in the UAE also provide models for event promotions, including product launches, store openings, and other events. These events can be for a range of industries, including fashion, beauty, and technology.

Social Media Influencing: Social media influencing is becoming an increasingly important aspect of modeling in the UAE. Many models in the UAE have large social media followings and work with brands to promote their products on their social media platforms.

Success Strategy for Media Companies in the UAE

Small and mid-sized media companies could focus on niche markets, offering highly specialized content that caters to specific audiences. This could include everything from online video channels and podcasts to social media platforms and other digital media offerings.

In addition, small and mid-sized media companies could also offer services such as content creation, video production, and other media-related services to larger companies operating in the UAE. With their agility and flexibility, these companies are well positioned to provide high-quality, personalized services to larger companies that may not have the same level of expertise or resources.

Ultimately, the UAE's position as a global media hub offers tremendous opportunities for small and mid-sized media companies. By taking advantage of the region's supportive regulatory environment, strategic location, and highly educated and tech-savvy audience, these companies can expand their reach and tap into new and exciting markets. With the right strategy and approach, the UAE could be the perfect location for media startups and other emerging companies looking to make a name for themselves in this dynamic and rapidly growing industry.

UAQ Free Trade Zone Advantages for Media Companies

As home to a thriving startup ecosystem, with a range of programs and initiatives designed to support small and mid-sized companies, the UAQ Free Trade Zone offers the facilities and support needed to attract national, regional, and local media companies.  This includes cost-effective service and consultancy licenses, highly adaptable office spaces that can be used for anything from galleries to first-rate production facilities and services,  and other resources designed to help media startups and other emerging companies get off the ground.




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