The region’s hub for content creation, media, entertainment, and gaming, twofour54 enables local, regional, and international businesses by providing them with the products and services they need in the Emirate.
Katrina Anderson, Director of twofour54's Commercial Services shares insights on twofour54's SME-focused support environment and on the sector's opportunities for growth.
Where does Abu Dhabi’s Media landscape stand today? How is twofour54 contributing to the local startup/SME growth within that sector?
Abu Dhabi’s media and entertainment sector have gone from strength to strength over the last decade. We have established a prime destination for local and international film and TV productions, from blockbusters to independent films. Abu Dhabi is also already home to international and regional news broadcasters including CNN and Sky News Arabia.
It also has a growing profile in gaming and esports which is accelerated through global partnerships, such as our longstanding relationship with Unity Technologies, which is establishing its first regional Centre of Excellence at our flagship development, Yas Creative Hub. This enables us to attract a solid roster of gaming and esports businesses from across the region, that will utilize the Unity Centre of Excellence and Gaming Hub when they open there later in 2021.
We are absolutely committed to supporting start-ups and SMEs who make up a significant proportion of our existing partners. We have a range of initiatives, from talent development and business strategy mentorship programmes to networking opportunities and platforms to help SMEs thrive as a core twofour54 stakeholder group.
What challenges do you see startups and SMEs face in the media and digital industry? How is twofour54 helping in overcoming these challenges and boosting the sector?
SMEs are innovative and agile. They are more likely to think outside the box and challenge the status quo, and this innovation is valuable in our sector. Their success is crucial, but achieving growth is not always easy and it becomes an even bigger challenge when the economy slows. With this understanding, we have consistently supported SMEs, whether through subsidies, waivers, or business development support.
Media and entertainment SMEs also rely heavily on their employees. Talent development is a core area for twofour54, with numerous initiatives in place to ensure the next generation of media professionals are entering the workforce with the required skills to thrive.
As an example of this, we are working with Unity Technologies to offer university students across the UAE training and certifications in video game development.
In the film and TV space, we work with a number of productions to offer internship opportunities. This has proven to be invaluable, as interns who worked in Abu Dhabi for franchises such as Mission Impossible, Star Wars and Fast and Furious have gone on to be valuable members of the twofour54 business and freelancer communities and this helps in building a sustainable industry in Abu Dhabi.
What kind of sector opportunities does twofour54 recommend entrepreneurs pay attention to? What specific trends and business growth opportunities are you encouraging or foresee will be developing in the coming years?
A particularly exciting segment of the media and entertainment industry is gaming and esports. It is growing faster in MENA than anywhere else in the world, and global gaming revenues are predicted to surpass $300 billion by 2026. Putting things in perspective, that’s more than all other entertainment sectors combined.
Additionally, we are seeing a strong increase in demand for high-quality Arabic content in a range of mediums. From Arabic games to TV shows, films and comics, there are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs and SMEs within this space. Being at Yas Creative Hub will perfectly position them to make the most out of the opportunities available in these sectors.
About Katrina Anderson, Director of Commercial Services, twofour54
Katrina Anderson is Director of Commercial Services responsible for the twofour54 customer journey. This involves strategic partnerships, film & tv services, real estate projects and customer care services including government and travel services. She joined twofour54 with 25+ years of Sales, Marketing and Partnership experience under her belt, including sector-specific knowledge of the tourism, development and media industries.
In her current role, Katrina is responsible for driving twofour54’s commercial deliverables, as well as working closely with twofour54’s campus partners, to deliver growth for all.