The Arab world seriously lacks in the race of electronic contents, experts warned at the concluding session of the Emirati Media Forum held at the Emirates Palace hotel on Wednesday.
“Technology is fast changing the global media where digital contents will drive the growth of the future media in which the Arab World is lacking seriously,” Malik Al Malik, Chief Executive Officer of Tecom Free Zone Business Parks, told audiences, urging stakeholders to create funds to channel investment into the sector that has a huge potential for growth.
“The value of the digital contents, advertisement and commercial revenue from the electronic and online media is growing fast and has reached $540 billion (Dh2 trillion). This brings us to the issue of electronic content development. We represent less than three per cent of the global digital contents market – which means there is a huge potential for the sector to grow.
“This is where we see opportunities for funding.”
He said, the future media scene will be dictated by innovation and technology. The Middle East region is expected to see about $60 billion investment in technology over the next five to ten years. Referring to the latest announcement by the UAE Government’s National Innovation initiative, he said, the UAE is also seeking to growth by innovation.
“This offers a great opportunity for the financial community to be able to finance the new technologies and ventures,” he said.
Giving a historic perspective of the evolution of the media sector, he said, Dubai and the UAE has come a long way in developing the sector starting with the creation of Dubai Press Club in 1991, Dubai Media City in 2001, then progressively creating the Dubai Studio City and the International Media Production Zone.
The UAE has 13 newspapers, 298 magazines, 38 radio channels, 165 television channels and 7,000 content production houses.
“These developments have helped us to prepare our people, the media industry ready for the future,” he said.
“Our country is one of the most advanced countries in the world and most technology provider test their new innovations at the UAE.
“Recently, the UAE was a venue to test the 5th generation mobile technology which has a long way to go for commercial launch. But these facts indicate our readiness for the next-generation technology.
He said, in future, the human body will be used as the computer or mobile handset screen, with signals diverted through a wristband.
“Apple and Samsung have patented more than 30 different technologies that will shape our life and culture,” he said. “In future, we will be called screen human beings – as the contents will be reflected on the body when the wristband is activated by the user. Your body becomes the screen where the content is displayed on for you to read.
“So, that’s how contents will be created, dispatched and broadcast through applications and softwares and one has to prepare for this digital age. However, the good thing is that the UAE is one of the most advanced in technology and ranks high in the global technology readiness index. So, we are there. However, we need to develop our own contents – otherwise will have to continue to consume others’ contents.”
This is where the young emirati tech-savvy entrepreneurs could make a difference and bring good ideas to the table that need to be funded. The Arab World and its policymakers should develop strategy based on innovation and should be committed to fund the development of new technologies, he said.