ON.DXB signals Dubai's drive to be at the global forefront of new wave of media convergence

Groundbreaking festival, designed to support growth of media, entertainment and content industries, begins tomorrow


Dubai emerges as hub for talent in film, gaming, video and music 

Government of Dubai Media Office – 20 November 2019: ON.DXB, a new groundbreaking regional festival designed to support the development of the media, entertainment and content industries, gets underway in Dubai tomorrow. One of the few events of its kind in the world, the Festival marks the city’s rise as a hub for talent in one of the fastest evolving industries in the world. 

The unique event aims to further stimulate Dubai’s growth as a global platform for companies and talent in film, gaming, video and music – sectors that are seeing a synergistic convergence, driven by digital technology. One of the most celebrated filmmakers of our generation Spike Lee; English actor and ‘King of Grime’ artist Kano; actor and producer Liza Koshy; and gaming icon MjrmGames are among the international celebrities that will headline ON.DXB. 

Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, said the festival seeks to help the region make a quantum leap in the development of its media, entertainment and content sectors. Content is currently dominated by western media, but regionally there is a growth in demand for more original content from gaming to music to TV. The Arab region requires more platforms that support innovation in these industries. ON.DXB is part of our comprehensive efforts to fill this gap.” 

Al Suwaidi added that the event reinforces Dubai and UAE’s pioneering role in the content sector and consolidates its status as a hub for creative talent. “Dubai provides an ecosystem that allows individuals to flourish in the media, entertainment and content industries including e-gaming, a sector in which Dubai is playing a key part in promoting growth. The ON.DXB festival seeks to bring regional and local talent across these different industries on one platform and empower them by connecting them with prominent industry experts and pioneers in the film, gaming, video and music sectors.” 

Jamal Al Sharif, Chairman of the Dubai TV and Film Commission, said the festival will substantially raise the region’s profile on the global creative map. “With the fields of media and content undergoing a major transformation, a lot of the ground rules in these sectors have changed. There is an urgent need to create a space that empowers local and Arab talent and encourages their continued contribution to these sectors. Such initiatives are critical to help the region keep pace with new developments,” he said. 

Al Sharif further said: “With the ON.DXB festival, we continue to build on Dubai’s pioneering role and achievements in the media industry. Our aim is to place Dubai at the vanguard of the massive shifts the media industry is going through. The wealth of talent in the Arab region encourages us to continue on this journey. As an incubator for talent, Dubai has always provided an inspiring environment for individuals to express their creativity and ideas.” 

The Festival is the latest in a series of events that reflect Dubai’s emergence as a leading player in shaping the growth of future-oriented industries. Having stamped its mark as the region’s media hub by creating some of the world’s best infrastructure for the industry, Dubai is now at the forefront of the new wave of convergence in the global media landscape. 

The city’s evolving profile reflects the Dubai leadership’s vision to transform the emirate into one of the world’s most prominent talent and innovation hubs. In his Eight Principles of Governance announced earlier this year, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum outlined his intention to build the city into a ‘Land for Talent’. 

The seeds for Dubai’s leadership in the industry were sown two decades ago when it launched highly successful media free zones including Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City. These vibrant industry clusters are today home to leading media and content creation brands, studios, production houses and talent across the global and regional film, music, gaming and video sectors. 

With the convergence movement gathering pace and the demand for original content rising, Dubai is building an ecosystem for talent to flourish in this rapidly developing space. It has created a progressive legislative environment and enabling regulatory framework for the growth of talent. A report based on Boston Consulting Group’s 2019 study titled Decoding Digital Talent validated Dubai’s attractive value proposition for talent when it ranked the city the sixth most appealing place for digital experts to relocate to. Recent initiatives announced by Dubai to foster talent include a long-term cultural visa for creatives, artists, authors and innovators launched as part of the emirate’s new cultural vision. 

Dubai’s growth as a media hub received a resounding endorsement in July this year when the Arab Information Ministers Council named it as the Capital of Arab Media for 2020. The announcement recognised two decades of Dubai’s leadership in driving regional media industry growth and creating industry clusters that host more than 4,000 companies and 33,000 professionals and creative talent. 

In recent years, Dubai has added a new dimension to its role as a regional media powerhouse by riding cutting-edge technology trends. Nowhere is this more evident than in the city’s gaming sector initiatives, the development of which is steered by Dubai 10X Media, a project that is part of the emirate’s drive to place itself 10 years ahead of other global cities. 

A series of global events stamped Dubai’s emergence as a major player in the worldwide gaming landscape. Last month, Dubai hosted Insomnia Dubai, the region's largest gaming festival. In December, it will play host to Girlgamer Esports Festival, the world’s leading esports event for women. Furthermore, major players in the industry like Riot Games and Tencent Games have set up their regional headquarters in Dubai. MjrmGames, the Saudi-based gamer and one of the most watched YouTubers in the Arab world with an audience of 6.7 million subscribers will be one of the biggest draws at ON.DXB. 

ON.DXB festival has been designed to unite leading local and regional industry talent, enabling the Middle East’s brightest talents to connect and learn. The event will welcome major gaming industry talent from across the region and beyond, including Hiba Muhareb, co-founder of Shanab Games; John Lacey, MD and founder of Power League Gaming; influencer Ahmed Al Nasheet; MC Baraa Andullah; Mohammed Alturkistani, the MENA Director at Tentacle Gaming; and RobocomVR founder Karim Ibrahim. 

Regional film champions who will take centre-stage at the festival include Asri Bendacha, the Dubai-based independent filmmaker behind influencer documentary Follow Me; Emirati filmmaker Mustafa Abbas, who directed the critically acclaimed Sunset State - screened at Cannes Film Festival - and Afnan Al Qassimi, the screenwriter of Boxing Girls,.   

Regional video talent will be championed by Mohammad Fattal, founder & CEO of Alfan Group; Noor Stars, the top subscribed YouTube creator in the Arab world; beauty guru Manal Muffin; and Saudi-based influencer Dyler TV, among others. The regional music industry will be represented by Elie Abou Saleh, GCC VP of Anghami; Sony Music General Manager Mike Fairburn; and Amr Ramadan, founder of Wasla, the alternative Arabic music festival, as well as speakers from ARN.


© Press Release 2019

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