M&C Saatchi PR welcomes new Account Manager

Global communications agency, M&C Saatchi PR has appointed Melinda Mesiano to the role of Account Manager. With a wealth of experience working across corporate and consumer segments, Melinda has handled clients such as Emaar, Hilton Hotels, OSN and Jumeirah Golf Estates, where she specialised in content creation and media relations. In her new role, Melinda will oversee a range of client accounts with an emphasis on driving and facilitating new businesses.

“The team has recently hit its one-year milestone in the UAE, so it’s a really exciting time to join,” says Melinda. “I can’t wait to see where we can take M&C Saatchi PR in the UAE.”
Amy Brill, M&C Saatchi PR, Head of PR, UAE, continues, “Melinda is the perfect addition to the team – strategic, creative and fearless – we are delighted to have her on board.”

OSN wins Media and Marketing Company of the year

MENA-based entertainment network, OSN has been named Media and Marketing Company of the Year at the Gulf Business Awards 2017. The awards aim to celebrate companies and business leaders across nine industries including tourism, media and marketing and recognised OSN for its leadership position in the entertainment industry across the region.

“It is a privilege to be honoured with this remarkable distinction from industry leaders as the Media and Marketing Company of the year,” says Martin Stewart, CEO, OSN. “This is a true testament to the passion and dedication of the OSN team to delivering premium content in MENA and in leveraging the power of digital technology to engage with our customers.”

Gavin Gibbon joins Shamal Communications

Dubai-based independent and full service agency, Shamal Communications has appointed Gavin Gibbon to the role of Senior Account Manager following the agency’s expansion and rebrand. With over 17 years of experience in journalism, PR and real estate, Gavin previously worked with ITP Media Group as Editor of Construction Week Online, OSN as PR Editor and most recently with Core Savills as PR and Communications Manager. In his new role, he will oversee all PR operations and work across the agency’s portfolio of clients across the region.

“Having worked with Shamal Communications during my time at ITP my decision to come on board was an easy one,” says Gavin. “The agency has an incredibly strong client base, with a passion to serve them well and foster good relationships with the media. Their ambitions also match my own and I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

OSN signs long-term TV content deal

Entertainment network company, OSN has signed a long-term deal for exclusive rights to Disney Channels in the MENA region. The agreement will see OSN maintain exclusive rights and give its subscribers across the MENA region access to Disney channels including Disney XD, Disney Junior and Disney Channel HD. The long-term deal will also see subscribers gain access to soon to be launched Disney first-pay movies and the Disney Forever on Demand services.

“We continue to build on our strong collaboration with Disney through an even wider range of content that appeals to family and kids,” says Emad Morcos, Chief Content Officer, OSN. “The quality of Disney entertainment is unbeatable and the addition of more On Demand anytime and anywhere shows will offer added choices for our customers. Our long-term partnership with Disney is industry-defining as it raises the bar in home entertainment and brings even more value for our subscribers.”

OSN secures rights for SyFy

OSN has acquired the regional rights for SyFy, NBCUniversal International’s science-fiction channel. The channel is due to launch in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, through OSN, on July 8, 2016 and the launch will bring with it a roster of original series, original movies,classic science-fiction and fantasy programming to OSN subscribers, with almost 80 percent of the content available in Arabic, either dubbed or in subtitles.

The launch of the channel is part of OSN’s new and extended long-term deal with NBCUniversal International, signed in January this year.

In The Hot Seat – Benita Adesuyan

Benita Adesuyan, PR Editor at OSN, talks to TMN about changes to Dubai’s media scene and offers her advice to those looking to start a career in the industry…

Name:  Benita Adesuyan                                

Age: 33                                        

From: London       

Current Job Title: PR Editor at OSN

When did you first arrive in Dubai? November 2013

Where did you work prior?
Before arriving in Dubai, I was working for Northern & Shell Media Group on the Sunday Express Magazine for six years. I started out as an Editorial Assistant on the magazine and worked my way up to the role of Commissioning Editor. Prior to my current position, I was Section Editor at Time Out Dubai for two years. I was in charge of three sections – sports and outdoors, film and community.

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
My very first impressions of the Middle East media industry were largely influenced by the friends that I had from the UK who had relocated here before me. Many were leaving UK titles and seeing their careers flourish. When I arrived, I felt that there was a growth in the industry here and a sense of dynamism and progression which seemed to be lacking from the UK’s market, especially in national publications, at the time.

Has your opinion changed much?
I still feel that the media industry here is very dynamic, and there’s a forward thinking approach to how consumers connect with media in its various formats. The way social media is used here is so creative and there are a lot of opportunities for new titles, and media platforms. That being said, economics obviously has a part to play in any industry and media is highly competitive so when purses and budgets tighten, it constricts the growth of the market.

Tell us about your current role…
My current role is very unique and varied. As a PR Editor I produce an internal magazine for all OSN staff across MENA, I also work with the PR team for OSN on their media events and launches. It’s an exciting role for me as I am responsible for all elements of the magazine from researching and writing the stories, to working with our designers, and liaising with production. I get to use my skills as an Editor to take full charge of production of the magazine, and also write engaging stories about the OSN business, programmes, channels and talent, and I’m also acquiring new skills in PR and marketing.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
As a journalist you always feel proud when you see your work, but in this role, seeing how my colleagues get excited about each edition and want to share their stories for the next edition really gives me a good buzz. 

What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in media in the UAE?
Go for it – adapt and bring your whole self to your new role or company. Yes, things are different, but just don’t hold back. The UAE is still full of opportunity, creative companies want and value smart, proactive, and hardworking people and the sky really is the limit.

What’s your pet PR peeve?
Not knowing the publication. Take the time to know a magazine before you pitch an idea. Nip to the shop and buy a copy if you’re totally unfamiliar with it, visit the website, check the magazine’s Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, but people are way too busy to deal with irrelevant pitches that would never run in their magazine. Now that I have a PR element to my role, it’s something that I’m very conscious of.

Work calls via landline, mobile or both?
I prefer to get calls on the landline, especially if it’s during work hours and it’s a non-urgent or follow up call. I do actually pick up my phone, even though that does seem like a rare habit. I only expect to get a call on my mobile if it is really time-sensitive or we’re due to meet. 

What’s your most overused saying?
‘Cool’ – I say it and I write it in emails all the time. I’ve also started to use ‘awesome’ a lot. 

How do you see media changing in the UAE in the coming years?
I think it is going to get more competitive across the board, and that will encourage everyone to up their game, which is good for consumers and makes those of us working in the industry more innovative. 

If you could have one work wish granted, what would it be?
Aside from the obvious wish, I’d love to get free back and shoulder massages at work. I get very tight shoulders, and anyone who has ever worked in the same office as me can testify that I am always stretching and doing my desk exercises, so a free daily back massage would be awesome.

What is your favourite form of media (i.e; TV, radio, print)?
I love it all, I don’t have a favourite. I listen to the radio first thing in the morning, read papers and magazines through the day and check social media constantly. I go to the cinema every week, but since joining OSN, I think I’ve genuinely fallen in love with TV again.