March 11, 2010 | Dina El Shammaa, Abu Dhabi Deputy editor, Posted by Gulfnews
Documentary channel will air one-hour television special showcasing major landmarks of the UAE capital
Abu Dhabi: The National Geographic Abu Dhabi Channel, co-owned by Fox International Channels (FIC), will showcase a one-hour documentary in the next three months on the capital city’s three major landmarks, the company’s chief executive said.
In an exclusive interview with Gulf News during the Abu Dhabi 2010 Media Summit, David Haslingden, President and CEO, FIC identified the landmarks as the Shaikh Zayed Mosque, Aldar headquarters, and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Fox, which has more than 20 offices worldwide, recently located its Middle East regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi after receiving an increasing number of film and documentary proposals from the region.
FIC is also the second largest online media provider in the UAE, with a network that reaches more than 50 per cent of online users each month.
FIC moved part of its operations from Hong Kong to Abu Dhabi due to anticipated growth in the broadcasting business in the capital city and the rest of the Middle East.
“The UAE’s population rate is increasing, and mainly consists of young people who are looking to consume high-standard products. Also, Abu Dhabi is a good place to attract professional executives, as well as partner with other companies that would willingly invest with you in the long term,” said Haslingden.
Abu Dhabi stands out as one of the most attractive destinations to feature in any documentary due to its architecture, said Haslingden.
Another documentary that FIC is currently considering is on the Bu Tinah island, located approximately 130km west of Abu Dhabi.
“The marine elements in that island alone tell a story. The species of coral reefs that continue to survive despite the 36 degrees Celsius temperature are something unheard of in the US and the West. We can definitely learn about the marine [life] there. The whole marine eco-system around the islands of Abu Dhabi make a great story for us, and a different one for viewers across the world,” he said.
Even though a few years ago the capital city was unheard of in many parts of the western world, Haslingden explained that it’s now becoming a well-known city that comes up with its own surprising, yet interesting projects.
Speaking about the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Haslingden said: “I’d like to learn the way Rupert Murdoch funds his journalism and hear about the way media leaders in Abu Dhabi and the Middle East perceive their own opportunities, risks and needs. I’m sure I’ll get out of the summit with a deeper understanding of the media landscape, and on who can be a meaningful part of it.”
Haslingden predicts that broadcast networks will be the most profitable sector for the media. “
Cable channels are much more profitable than network channels since they depend on advertising, even though network channels are more popular, but mostly depend on distributors. Broadcast networks are regaining their positions with the media, he said.