More than 400 of the world’s leading media executives will gather at Yas Island today for the opening of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.
The invite-only event, which is now in its fourth year, will focus on driving the transition towards a fully digital global future.
The event has emerged as a key meeting point for executives from the international media industry, touching on sectors including television, mobile, music, advertising, marketing, venture capital and equity finance.
Particular attention will be paid this year to the increasing digital capabilities of the emerging markets of the Middle East, the subcontinent, East Asia and China, including the dramatic growth in the number of users accessing digital content via mobile devices.
“The Middle East shows the highest internet user growth rate in the world, after it rose from 3,284,000 in 2000 to over 90 million today,” said Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, the director general of the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
“UAE smartphone penetration figures already reach three out of four residents,” he said.
The TRA was yesterday named as an event partner for the 2013 summit. “The Abu Dhabi Media Summit in particular, acts as an excellent platform to address high-level, forthcoming trends that are influencing this digital transition and we are delighted to support the event once again,” said Mr Al Ghanim.
“By encouraging the industry’s development and public awareness towards digital opportunities, the Abu Dhabi Media Summit strongly aligns with our aim to stay ahead of the trend as a regulator in one of the most digitally advanced countries of the Gulf,” he added.
The event begins tonight with a welcome address from Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority and also the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.
This will be followed by a “fireside chat” with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Englishman credited with inventing the worldwide web, on the state of the digital planet. There will also be a presentation on the art of emerging market expansion, delivered by Andrew Bird, the chairman of Walt Disney International.
The summit’s second day will contain presentations and panel discussions on topics including opportunities and challenges in a media-centric world, new media, new marketing and the path to global growth, and building strong local eco-systems to achieve global success, with presentations and input from senior executives from media companies that include Discovery Networks International, Sony India, Twitter, Gameloft and Viacom.
The summit’s third and final day will look at the Middle East as a force for innovation, including the role of women entrepreneurs.