Innovate by investing in startups, urge UAE experts

SOURCE: The Khaleej Times - Innovate by investing in startups, urge UAE experts

The best way to stay engaged and on top of the latest happenings is by interacting with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), noted Patrick Thiriet, chief strategy officer at Choueiri Group. According to him, no one knows their audience better than SMEs.

"Today the market is clearly being disrupted by digital technologies," he said. "For large companies, it is very difficult to be as agile as they were when they were just starting out. However, one of the ways that they can do so is by investing in small businesses."

Choueiri Group provides advertisers and consumers with media options. Driven by a deep understanding of the market, and a distinct sense of entrepreneurship, the group converts innovation to economic value for all businesses involved. Today, the group manages the advertising space of more than 50 represented media including TV and newspapers.

Thiriet also noted that the digital disruptions of today present companies with a very interesting opportunity. "It is good to be disrupted. For us, it was great that Google and Facebook - in a very small space of time - became our biggest competitors. They forced us to adjust and adapt."

Tarek Amin, CEO of Digital at Adline Media Network, and another speaker at the event, also cautioned companies not to neglect the opportunities presented by digital disruption.

Adline Media Network is a diversified media communications network in the GCC and North African markets, with an extensive team of over 250 experienced advertising, marketing, and media professionals located throughout the region.

"Digital is not something new to us; it is something that we have been comfortable in. The market though has definitely evolved, and the main shift that we witnessed has been that the large groups that work in traditional media have digital as a core business. We, and our partners, can no longer afford to treat digital or work with it in a silo. It needs to be fully integrated with your plans," he stressed.

Majed Al Suwaidi, managing director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City, also spoke about how content creators today have numerous platforms through which they can get their content to viewers.

"We would like to see how the whole industry evolves in creating content," he said. "It is undeniable that the opportunity within this area is huge. For this to happen though, there should be enablers. We count ourselves as one such enabler. What we have increasingly witnessed is that businesses, which are breaking out of the traditional model, are coming to us and saying that they are interested in diversifying their offerings by investing in innovative startups."

He further explained that the whole ecosystem in the region will flourish if companies in the region take a proactive approach. They can do this through the setting up of media labs, innovation centres, and incubators that support startups by providing the necessary tools they need to get noticed.

Sing like no one is watching

Imagine driving a car with your parents and then hearing a song that you all like on the radio. Your parents express interest in the singer and ask you who he or she is. Your answer: The singer is none other than yourself.

Mohammad Al Munaikh, co-founder and CEO of Ghinwa Media, says that this is very much possible through the Ghinwa mobile application. Ghinwa is a karaoke style singing app that features Arabic songs.

Speaking in a panel discussion at the 2017 WAN-IFRA Middle East Conference, AlMunaikh noted that Ghinwa is not only empowering users, but is also promoting the karaoke industry in the region. 

"We found that many of our users are very outgoing and talented people, but that they are also very careful about their social image. Even those who aspired to make a career in the music industry had trouble finding ways to promote their music," he said.

By giving such users a chance to shine through this mobile app, Ghinwa removes many of the obstacles that musicians in the region face.

"We have an agreement with radio stations, so if a user starts getting a lot of traction on the app, then within 48 hours we have their content on the radio stations going mainstream."

SOURCE: The Khaleej Times - Innovate by investing in startups, urge UAE experts