Maryam Eid AlMheiri, CEO, Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi and twofour54: Interview

Maryam Eid AlMheiri, CEO, Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi and twofour54

Interview: Maryam Eid AlMheiri

How will the relocation of twofour54 to Yas Island enhance Abu Dhabi’s media industry, and what are your goals as you develop the new campus?

MARYAM EID ALMHEIRI: Currently, twofour54 holds a total area of 59,000 sq metres dispersed throughout the city. Moving to Yas Island will allow us to create a unified, free media zone in a single area as we work to position ourselves as a creative industry community in order to enhance interactions between people. The growth of the media sector, the success of the rebate policy and a growing number of projects all require us to have a long-term strategic vision for our community.

Our goal is for twofour54 to be a flagship of Abu Dhabi’s creative industry by centralising the exchange of ideas, projects and knowledge in one location. For us, this means that the digital aspect is fundamentally important. A transversal trend, digital expansion has reached all sectors, especially within the creative industry – in marketing, communication, design and content creation – which has been enhanced by the use of digital and computer-assisted tools.

The Yas Island campus will be designed and built to support technology, including Wi-Fi hotspots, plugs, digital libraries and all of the necessary infrastructure that will enable our partners and community to have unfettered access to content throughout the campus.

We want to encourage the youth to lead the way. They are ahead of us in online content creation, and we want to give them the tools to succeed and fulfil their passion. For us, digital technology is a means to achieving this and will be the base of our strategy.

What factors attract local and international professionals to Abu Dhabi’s creative media industry?

ALMHEIRI: Media is unique in the sense that it can provide endless opportunities to use one’s personal skills. We encourage people to follow a path where their passion can thrive in the professional world. With the economy growing rapidly and competition increasing, the typical job market will evolve and we must embrace its transformation to create new opportunities.

The media sector provides professionals with a platform to promote their talent to companies and individuals in need of their skills. As believers in the expansion of the gig economy, we support its development through our platform. The beauty of the concept lies in its flexibility, allowing you to work from any location in the world, at any time, without worrying about administrative tasks such as visas or residency applications. The media industry also encourages virtual synergies and long-distance professional relationships, spurring creativity and inspiration.

Ultimately, the critical component is passion. If one is passionate, one can deliver, market and sell. We want to promote professional goals through passion.

How is twofour54 encouraging youth to engage in the media sector, and why is it such an important outreach practice for you to participate in?

ALMHEIRI: Currently, twofour54 consists of a community of over 13,000 people from around the world. Culture and media have brought these people together regardless of age, location, ethnicity, religion or customs. Culture has no boundaries and no limits. The sole common value is a passion for the content they create together and the story they want to tell.

For youth, specifically, we organised a summer camp in 2018 for 40 students aged between nine and 12 to teach them about various media subsectors such as character building, in partnership with Bidaya, or news broadcasting, in partnership with CNN.

Previously, we held camps related to social media to share best practices, address family questions and advise on suitable behaviour on such platforms. This type of environment nurtures the youth, teaching them to learn from each other and exchange ideas. It also exposes them to the media industry, which is vital since they will be the ones shaping it in the very near future.

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