Abu Dhabi hopes high for media forum

Abu Dhabi is gearing up for a gathering of old and new media leaders from east and west this week which it hopes will establish the emirate as the undisputed hub from which media companies can tap into the growth offered by Arabic-speaking markets. The inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit has drawn some of the industry’s biggest US names, ranging from Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp, to Eric Schmidt, the Google chief executive with whom Mr Murdoch has clashed about online content. However, its backers note that they will appear alongside challengers from faster-growing markets, such as Sunil Bharti Mittal of India’s Bharti Enterprises, Mohammed Omran from Etisalat, the Emirates telecoms group, and Mehmet Ali Yalç*ndag of Turkey’s Dogan Media. The executives have been drawn by underdeveloped media markets with demographic and digital growth dynamics that their home countries may never offer again, according to Karim Sabbagh of Booz & Co, the consultancy. The Middle East and north Africa represents “one of the few markets where media [revenues are] still growing in double digits, even in traditional spaces”, he said. The region’s media and entertainment markets should expand from USD 14.1bn in 2009 to USD 26bn by 2013, Booz estimates, while broadband subscriber numbers should grow at 30 per cent a year for the next four years



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