Abu Dhabi’s media hub twofour54 reported an increase in the number of companies based in the free zone in the first half of year, including the television production company making the Arabic version of children’s show Sesame Street.
The company registered 55 new clients in production, post-production and broadcasting. Occupancy rates for its studios was 92 per cent with post-production occupancy at 63 per cent and 1,384 production days booked. Since its launch five years ago, twofour54 has generated 15,864 hours of television broadcasting content.
It has also been ranked as one of the top free zones in the Middle East by Foreign Direct Investment Magazine (fDi).
The biannual Middle East Free Zones of the Future awards identifies the most promising special economic zones and locations for investment, economic development and business expansion. In the first half of this year, twofour54 came 11th in the rankings, up from 21st last year.
“Looking at our successes in the year to date, the fDi rankings stand out in particular. It brings me great pride to witness twofour54 attaining the position of top performing media and creative free zone in the Middle East,” said Noura Al Kaabi, the chief executive. “A vibrant and dynamic media cluster contributes to Abu Dhabi’s attractiveness as a global business hub while offering career paths that fulfill the creative aspirations of Emiratis.”
Twofour54 houses some 200 international and regional media companies on its campus, including powerhouses such as CNN and Cartoon Network and local companies such as Qabeela Media, the producer of the travel series Peeta Planet.
Other highlights so far this year include the graduation of the gaming academy’s first eight students.
The academy was opened in partnership with Ubisoft. Twofour54 has also provided media training with Tamkeen Bahrain, a two-year agreement to develop Bahraini media talent and develop the region’s industry.
Ms Al Kaabi recently announced Hollywood blockbuster Fast and Furious will be recording the seventh instalment of the film in the UAE. The 30 per cent rebate on all qualifying spending in the UAE has proven an attractive incentive for film producers attracting Screen Gems, a Sony Pictures Entertainment production company and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.