LIVE UPDATES: Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2012

All of the latest live developments and updates from day two of the event
Microsoft founder Bill Gates gave the keynote speech at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.
By Daniel Shane
Wed 10 Oct 2012 11:40 AM

12:45: Booze & Co have released some interesting statistics on digital media usage in the Arab world today. According to the firm's research, 83 percent of people in the region aged between 15 and 35 spend more than two hours per day on social networks. All I can say is that there must be a lot of square eyes in the Middle East...

12:15: In terms of Warner Bros Home Entertainment's battle over online content with Youtube, Wuthrich says that the dispute has still not been resolved but that both companies are currently working through it. He diplomatically reiterates that Youtube is an important partner for Warner Bros, despite them having one or two disagreements.

To combat online piracy, he believes, the best way is to reassess commercial models for providing online content. These could include lower price points or changes to subscription models, Wuthrich adds.

12:10: Another dispatch from Shane McGinley, who's just had a quick word with none other than Jim Wuthrich, who is president of Warner Bros Home Entertainment. He says Warner Bros is seeing a lot of activity in the tablet and mobile markets, which Wuthrich says are generating more and more revenue via advertising for the company.

He admits though that Arabic content for the Middle East market is not something Warner Bros has given too much thought to yet. The company "tends not to be too good at niches," he explains. Well at least he's honest.

12:00: We've got an update from our reporter Shane McGinley who's been chatting with David Kenny, CEO of The Weather Channel. He forecasts (pun intended) that since everywhere in the world has weather, naturally everybody should have a use for the firm's mobile app. Very astute. Kenny also sees a lot of potential for the app in the business-to-business segment, where a lot of energy traders, particularly in the Middle East, have adopted it.

11:30: Some breaking news away from the summit. Henri Hazoughi, co-founder of Dubai-based group buying summit Cobone has confirmed that he has left the company. Hazoughi won't say why at the moment but I'm sure we'll find out in due course. You can more about this story here.

11:00: Hello and welcome to Arabian Business's live coverage from day two of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit in the UAE capital. To start things off we're going to have a recap on yesterday's proceedings, which included a keynote speech from Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates...


HE Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority, kicked off the summit with an introductory speech that talked about the significant developments that have been made in the four year's since he opened TwoFour54, Abu Dhabi's media and creative free zone.

The free zone was opened in a bid to generate new career opportunities for young Emiratis, to contribute towards a thriving media sector and produce a generation of media consumers with greater access to content from this part of the world, he said.

He added that he pleased with the progress the free zone has made including attracting 180 companies to set up their offices and 3,000 new jobs.


Next up, was Bill Gates, a man who needs very little introduction. He is of course best known as the founder and chairman of the technology giant, Microsoft, but Gates and his wife, Melinda, are becoming better known for the philanthropic work they do with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gate's speech, which is entitled Global Development, begins by summing up some of the good work that has been achieved in the last 50 years in helping to eradicate global poverty and life-threatening diseases. In 1960, he said, more than 20m children died before they reached their fifth birthday but today that number has fallen to below seven million.

"In little more than 50 years, the world has cut the number of child deaths by nearly two-thirds, even with more children in the world," he said.

"To me, this is one of the greatest accomplishments of the modern age. It is the proof of the fantastic things that can happen when innovation is shared widely in the world," he added.

He went onto to talk about the positive role the Middle East is playing in the global fight against life-threatening diseases. He discussed the positive work GCC leaders are doing such as the time HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed sent a group of doctors from the UAE to Pakistan and negotiated their entry into areas that international aid workers had previously been unable to enter.

"This region can play a pivotal role in improving the lives of the poor. The leaders and citizens here can reach out as partners to countries where they have special access and special kinship - areas where the rest of the world doesn't have the standing to intervene in the way that leaders here can do," he said.

After Gates speech its question and answer time. A member of the audience asked Gates if he'll ever return to Microsoft on a full time basis and if not, has he ever considered running for US president. He laughed and said that he feels he can have more of an impact than both doing his philanthropic work.


Next up was a discussion with Ari Emanuel, the co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor (WME), the largest and oldest global talent agency, talking about Hollywood versus Silicon Valley. I was a little apprehensive for the interviewer as Ari Gold, the fiery agent in the television series, Entourage, is based on Emanuel.

The first question is why can't Silicon Valley and Hollywood work together. Emanuel said they are working together in certain aspects such as advertising, content and distribution in old media but not so much in new media. There are lots of ways that are starting to show some improvement such as television series that started on the internet now being shown on cable. His biggest bugbear he added is online platforms that don't protect content.


Next up was the question and answer session. A member of the audience asked if crowdfunding for movies is likely to become an important way for companies to source funding for making movies. Emanuel said the same issues being addressed in the US right now, such as who owns the equity stake, will also be issues here.

Another audience member asked if he plans to open a branch of WME in the Middle East. He said no, adding: "I've never seen it the case when talent does not get noticed by someone in my neck of the woods. So if you are talented, it will happen as people like me fly here a lot."

For those of you that want to view the speeches and panel discussions you can do so here:

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