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Murdoch moves in on the Middle East
The launch of Fox International’s hub in Abu Dhabi illustrates the media mogul’s desire for regional expansion.
March 7, 2010 1:54 by Aarti Nagraj
The delegate list of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, which starts today, reads like a who’s who of the communications industry.
Regional and international luminaries such as Edward Borgerding, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Media Company, Khaldoon Khalifa al-Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi’s media zone twofour54, and Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, will all be present at the event, where News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch will today give the keynote address.
The event aims to highlight the increasing consumer appetite for news and entertainment in the region, and it seems like international corporations are already recognizing that.
On Monday, News Corp announced that its subsidiary, Fox International Channels (FIC), has entered a partnership with Abu Dhabi’s twofour54, under which FIC will make the UAE capital its regional base. FIC’s new office will handle the Middle East operations of its global online ad network business; the company is also planning to set up a HD and 3D documentary production house through its documentary production arm, NHNZ. FIC is also planning to move some of its TV operations from Hong Kong and elsewhere to the new facility in Abu Dhabi.
“The deal for us is a further step in a two-year old program of building up our business in the Middle East,” said David Haslingden, CEO of Fox International.
FIC’s move is not surprising, considering that the Middle East’s media industry is becoming more and more lucrative. According to a recent study by research firm Booz & Company, media and entertainment revenues in the Mena region are expected to nearly double between 2009 and 2013, to reach $2.7 billion.