By Karen Leigh
CEO of Creative City says radio stations focus for first half, sees advertising uptick in 2011
The CEO of Fujairah’s Creative City and its media holdings, including the recently launched ABC TV and a network of radio stations, said they are set to expand in the coming year as media advertising makes a post-recession bounce.
“It’s definitely making a comeback,” Mekki Abdulla said in an interview with Arabian Business. “2011 to 2012 will be a lot better than 2009. In 2011 we’ll very much be focusing on radio as we feel radio is going to be an early entry for advertisers.”
The state-backed Creative City, unveiled in 2005, was designed as a media hub to follow in the path of Dubai’s Media City and Abu Dhabi’s twofour54.
The city currently houses 700 media ventures, but expects to play host to 2,000 by the end of 2011, Abdullah said.
The media arm will capitalise on Fujairah’s rapidly expanding infrastructure, including road expansion and construction of a new city centre, to attract communications workers from Dubai and Abu Dhabi who have been left flailing in the wake of economic slowdown.
“People are looking to set up their own businesses because of redundancies,” he said; “especially people who were laid off and want to stay in the same place and industry.
“Fujairah’s ambition is to be a complete destination. We need to have a media arm, and if we drive business into Fujairah, that’s a success. It will be more than just a nice seaside resort.”
Abdulla was quick to add that Creative City would not seek to compete with areas like Dubai’s Media City, which houses major global news organizations.
“It’s like apples and pears,” he said.
With 150 employees, Abdulla said Fujairah Media – founded in 2006 and partially funded by the emirate’s government – will expand into new markets in the coming year.
Its flagship is ABC TV, launched this fall and featuring entertainment and lifestyle programming, 30-40 percent of which is produced in-house. Abdulla calculated its availability as 350 million households from North Africa to Pakistan.
Focus will also be on its international radio stations. Fujairah Media currently has channels in Amman, Berlin, and has plans to launch in Morocco and others.
“It’s good content for a very low price,” he said.