twofour54 marks 10 years of building a thriving and sustainable media industry in Abu Dhabi

15 Oct 2018

Tom Cruise with twofour54 team

twofour54 is marking its 10th anniversary with staff and partners by celebrating incredible content being created in Abu Dhabi that is entertaining, educating and inspiring millions of people around the world.

The media zone was founded in October 2008 with the mission to develop a unique and vibrant creative community that encourages world-class content and fosters the success of the region’s media sector. Over the last decade, it has seen continuous growth and is today home to more than 470 media firms, offering them all the services and support they need to innovate, collaborate and create.

H.E. Maryam Eid AlMheiri, CEO of Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi and twofour54, said: “It has been a remarkable 10 years, during which we have built a thriving and sustainable media industry in Abu Dhabi that is helping to develop a strong, diversified economy.

“Media in all its forms is an essential part of our daily lives, creating and moulding our decisions and opinions as individuals and as a society. The content we produce defines who we are and how we are perceived around the world.

“Over the past decade, our partners at twofour54 have created incredible content that has educated and entertained, kept people up to date with news and views, and even made them dance, smile, and laugh.

“Together, we are telling the stories of our region so that the world understands our culture, our values and our achievements. And as we do that, we are also raising the profile of our Emirate and everything it has to offer, which attracts new businesses and new visitors to our shores.

“We are also helping to meet the huge appetite for quality Arabic content around the world, and, at the same time, preserve our language and heritage.

“And I am delighted to say the future looks even brighter with many new initiatives in the pipeline to further strengthen our media sector. I am proud of how we have grown together as individuals, as organisations and as an industry, solidifying Abu Dhabi’s position as the Capital for content creators.”

twofour54 is home to a mix of leading international brands, including CNN, Red Bee Ericsson and Ubisoft, as well as local and regional companies such as Algorythma, Lamsa, and FLASH Entertainment, plus more than 580 freelancers. The collaborative environment helps partners and freelancers build their business through initiatives such as Connect networking events where they meet, share and collaborate, and the twofour54 Briefing Room – a unique portal where clients, partners and affiliated entities can post requests for proposals for the community to respond.

This year alone twofour54 has doubled the number of tenders on the briefing room and seen record numbers turn out to its networking events.

twofour54 also supports job creation in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to create 10,000 jobs for Emiratis in the private sector.

At the media zone, 37% of the partner base is owned and operated by Emiratis who feel the need to be part of a creative community. Some 60% of twofour54 employees are also UAE Nationals, and developing UAE talent is something the zone will continue to champion.

Content produced at twofour54 has reached more than 45 million households across the region. It has educated, such as Bidaya Media’s popular children’s show ‘Iftah Ya Simsim’ and the apps from Lamsa that have been used to consume more than one billion minutes of educational Arabic content. The content has also informed audiences, through major news outlets such as CNN, Sky News Arabia and The National.

There has been plenty of entertainment as well. For example, FLASH has organised a wealth of sporting, cultural and music events, while Cartoon Network has put smiles on the faces of children across the region. twofour54 partners have also produced content that inspires, such as the diverse programming of Baynoonah TV and productions such as ‘He Named Me Malala’, Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai.

The media zone is encouraging and empowering the next generation of media leaders and content creators through initiatives such as the 13,000-strong creative lab, community workshops, the hugely popular summer camp, and its internships programme, all of which give youth a taste of a career in media.

twofour54 also supports programmes such as Young Arab Media Leaders, which equips promising young professionals with the skills and expertise they need, and the UAE Apprenticeship Programme, which brings the private and public sectors together to develop the region’s top talents.
twofour54 has also helped attract major productions to Abu Dhabi. In the last five years alone, more than 60 major productions from Hollywood, Bollywood and the Arab world have been shot in the Emirate. These include two of the top grossing films of all time, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and ‘Furious 7’, as well as other blockbusters such as ‘Mission Impossible – Fallout, ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’, ‘Race 3’ and ‘Saaho’. It is estimated that 1 billion people around the world have seen Abu Dhabi on the silver screen thanks to the productions filmed here.

And there are many more initiatives to come. For example, in line with Abu Dhabi’s wider vision to create opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses, twofour54 recently allowed dual licensing, enabling partners to bid for government work, and started offering an extension to its entrepreneurship scheme to enable more small businesses to work from home.

twofour54 is focused on growing Abu Dhabi’s creative industries and together with its partners is building a strong vision for the future. Over the next few years, it will see that vision come to life. The zone has started construction on a larger, new home on Yas Island, where the custom-built facilities and top-notch services will give even more reasons for businesses to set up or expand in Abu Dhabi.

Everything is being designed to encourage innovation and collaboration, and to create world-class content from the heart of Abu Dhabi.

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