twofour54 Abu Dhabi Continues To Enable Media Industry To Sustain Business Operations Throughout COVID-19 Pandemic
Safely managing nearly $100 million worth of productions amid COVID-19 through a production blueprint developed in coordination with the Government of Abu Dhabi
Strategically supporting its community to ensure the long-term sustainability of their business
Production volume in Abu Dhabi has contributed to a 75% increase in the number of freelancers joining twofour54 this year
twofour54, Abu Dhabi’s media and entertainment hub, has continued to fulfil its mission of ensuring a sustainable media industry with a raft of measures aimed at supporting the sector through COVID-19, including ensuring the continuity of nearly $100 million (AED 367 million) worth of productions.
Home to more than 4,000 media professionals and 550 media companies, twofour54 continues to support its community with measures to ensure that their businesses continue to operate. This strategic support includes rent relief initiatives for more than 115 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to date.
twofour54’s measures for film & TV production is also creating business opportunities for other media firms that support these projects, as well as freelancers’ licenses, which grew by 75% in Q1 2020 compared to the same period last year.
Michael Garin, CEO of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, said “A strong media sector is considered to be vital to both the economy and society of the UAE, which is why it is seen as a strategically critical sector for the future of Abu Dhabi. Twofour54’s support to Abu Dhabi’s media industry is inspired by the message of unity and cooperation of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and his directives to support SMEs.
twofour54’s business agility, backed by close coordination with ADQ, our holding company, the Abu Dhabi Government has enabled the continuation of a significant volume of productions that are not only driving the local media sector, but also maintaining Abu Dhabi’s position as a magnet for regional and global productions.”
Katrina Anderson, Director of Commercial Services of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, continued “The pandemic has really demonstrated the UAE’s ability to protect people and businesses. It has shown that the country is a safe and stable haven not just within the region but even compared with more developed nations.
Supporting our community has always been our top priority at twofour54, and SMEs are at the heart of our support efforts. We are working tirelessly to provide the services and facilities, whether physical or digital, they need to navigate these unprecedented times and come out the other side even more creative and resilient. We want them to succeed in withstanding economic challenges and to continue producing high quality content that keeps the UAE public informed, educated and entertained.”
twofour54 supports its community with strategic initiatives to ensure long-term sustainability
twofour54 is supporting media firms in Abu Dhabi during the challenging circumstances posed by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic globally to ensure that their businesses continue to operate in the long term.
twofour54’s advanced infrastructure is playing a vital role in ensuring a seamless virtual connection and integration within its community amid remote working through the twofour54 Briefing Room, a unique portal where clients, partners and affiliated entities can post requests for proposals for the community to respond. Furthermore, twofour54’s Customer Care team have also introduced a new rate card for its partners, allowing businesses to access reduced rates for the departments paperwork and admin services.
Roland Daou, Managing Director of Media Mania, said ‘This has been a challenging time for the media industry, not just in the UAE, but around the world. We are so grateful to be based in Abu Dhabi with a government who reacted quickly to address the situation and mitigate the impact on our sector. By working with twofour54, we felt like we also had the support of a local community behind us.”
While media firms continue to operate, twofour54 is adapting its talent development and partner support initiatives to provide enriching virtual experiences and services for its community to develop their business during this time. This includes a series of webinars and virtual workshops with industry experts on a range of topics including guidance on labour laws, the new economic substance regulations and how to creatively look to the future. The twofour54 team assisted in providing references for the freelancers and SME’s eligible for the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge development subsidy programme and consulted with key business groups, including the British Business council, to find the best ways for partners to navigate their business pressures and to help them support their employees.
Matt Slater, co-founder of Seven Media, said “We have been impressed by how both the Abu Dhabi government and twofour54 handled this difficult situation. The team at twofour54 really took the time to listen to our concerns and then took decisive action to help. What we as twofour54 partners appreciated the most, were the tools and support system they provided to help us adapt our business. We look forward to emerging from this situation stronger than ever.”
twofour54 enables the continuation of $100 million productions amid COVID-19
twofour54, working closely with the Government of Abu Dhabi, has developed a blueprint that allows production companies to continue to shoot and edit in the Emirate despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. The media industry is among those sectors deemed an essential services provider by the government and has, therefore, been exempted from movement restrictions, provided organisations and individuals follow all necessary precautionary measures.
As a result, twofour54, working with Abu Dhabi Film Commission, the National Media Council and the Government of Abu Dhabi, has ensured that production continues safely on $100 million worth of projects. This includes MBC Studios, twofour54 and Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s co-production ‘Inheritance’, the Arab World’s first soap opera. The soap opera explores Saudi Arabia’s social, economic, and cultural aspects within a dramatic family setting and has been one of only a few international soaps that has been able to continue production during the global pandemic.
Additionally, twofour54 is providing post-production services at a competitive discount for all partners creating content related to COVID-19 or government announcements in order to continue creativity and the creation of inspirational content during this time.
Helping firms to keep productions running, or to get new ones under way, is part of twofour54’s strategy to help the media sector as a whole to traverse COVID-19. twofour54 is implementing a strict set of measures to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in these productions in addition to liaising continuously with local health authorities to ensure the adoption of every possible precautionary measure.
twofour54, home to Abu Dhabi’s media and entertainment industry, aims to cultivate Abu Dhabi’s media free zone and provide products and services to attract local, regional and international media businesses to the Emirate. Tasked with enabling a new generation of creative leaders and building Abu Dhabi as the Middle East’s leading hub for content creation, twofour54 provides world-class production facilities, talent development initiatives and training, and business support services for media companies.
Named after the geographical coordinates of Abu Dhabi, twofour54 is now home to more than 550 media companies – including Sky News Arabia, Image Nation, Ubisoft, CNN, Fox, Flash Entertainment and M&C Saatchi – as well as a bi-lingual freelancer pool and a community of aspiring media talents.
twofour54 is part of ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies with a diverse portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy.