DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO DEFINE NEXT PHASE OF CREATIVE INDUSTRY’S DEVELOPMENT

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Shihab Al Hammadi, Director, Sharjah Media City, tells Oxford Business Group

Sharjah: Sharjah’s plans to create an interactive platform for local media services that will support industry players’ operations and enable them to extend their reach were among the issues explored by Shihab Al Hammadi, Director, Sharjah Media City (Shams), in a wide-ranging interview he gave recently to Oxford Business Group (OBG).

Al Hammadi told the global research and consultancy firm that the “platform for platforms” strategy will provide firms with a valuable business-to-business portal, while encouraging the localisation of content production.

“This concept would provide a portal for companies looking for particular services, allowing businesses to operate, collaborate and sell their services or products to other firms on the platform,” he said. “It could also be accessed by external companies that want to see what media services Sharjah offers.”

In the full interview, Al Hammadi also shared his views on what he believes the emirate’s free zones can do to meet the specific demands of the creative industries and persuade them to open for business there.

“They [free zones] benefit from several advantages, including tailored licences and the speed of registering a new business,” he told OBG. “For the creative industries it is important to provide flexibility and develop digital infrastructure.”

He said Shams had taken steps to accommodate the flexible approach preferred by media professionals, which encompassed sometimes working from home or remotely, by incorporating elements such as a residential component and shared office space.

Al Hammadi also highlighted the importance for industry service providers of keeping on top of changing trends, especially when it came to hardware and infrastructure requirements.

“The global media industry is being transformed by new technology with a shift to digital platforms such as cloud services, video streaming and video on demand,” he said.

While acknowledging that the fast pace of change had brought challenges, Al Hammadi added that new developments also presented opportunities for the sector, most notably through the “convergence between conventional media, social media and digital platforms”.

Al Hammadi was interviewed by OBG’s team as part of the research for The Report: Sharjah 2018, OBG’s forthcoming publication on the emirate’s economy.

The Report: Sharjah 2018 will be a vital guide to the many facets of the emirate, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. The publication will contain a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, alongside contributions from leading personalities. The report will be available in print and online.

About Oxford Business Group:

Oxford Business Group is a global research and consultancy company with a presence in over 30 countries, from the Middle East, Africa and Asia to the Americas. A distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on many of the world’s fastest growing markets, OBG has offices in London, Berlin, Dubai and Istanbul, and a network of local bureaus across the countries in which we operate.

Through its range of products, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments, including banking, capital markets, tourism, energy, transport, industry and ICT. OBG provides business intelligence to its subscribers through multiple platforms: Economic News and Views, OBG Business Barometer – CEO Survey, Roundtables and conferences, Global Platform – exclusive video interviews, The Report publications and its Consultancy division.