The Festival of Media, Dubai

With the first Festival of Media event set to take place in Dubai on April 15, 2015, Team TMN catches up with Alexandre Hawari, Co-CEO of Mediaquest to discuss its partnership with C Squared and what we should be expecting from the internationally renowned industry awards and networking programme…

The Festival of Media event already takes place across a number of locations – Rome, Singapore and Miami – why is Dubai the right choice to add to the portfolio?
Dubai is indisputably the centre of the region’s media network and the hub of its marketing communications industry. Its media industry is characterised by being dynamic and progressive and the city has the advanced technical infrastructure and necessary legislative framework to facilitate an event as significant as the Festival of Media.

What made you decide to go into this venture with C Squared?
C Squared is a leading publishing and events management company in the UK, as is Mediaquest for the region. The two organisations share the same values and commitment to high standards, so it was a natural fit to harness C Squared’s media expertise and talents alongside those of our own to launch the Dubai Festival of Media as a joint venture.

What can we expect to see from the inaugural Festival of Media event in Dubai?
The underlying concept was to bring something different in terms of content engagement from anything else taking place in the region. The Festival of Media’s one-day conference will feature seven to nine global media leaders who have been invited to offer their thought expertise on a number of topical media subjects that are currently impacting on the region’s media landscape. The event will also provide an excellent networking opportunity, as numerous media agency CEOs and other key industry stakeholders will be attending from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

How will the Dubai version of this event differ from the other editions?
We are organising the event to take place on one day at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel, whereas the international editions last for two days. The inaugural MENA edition sees the programme agenda split between a main-stage panel and a number of side-room discussions, which will focus on the challenges that the media industry is currently facing. Advances in digital technology, the dearth of qualified talent and the proliferation of mobile usage in the region are just some of the topics that will be under the spotlight at the event.

Tell us more about the MENA edition of the Festival of Media Awards.
The Festival of Media Awards are viewed as a major awards programme for the media industry on a par with the Effies or Cannes. The Festival of Media Global Awards is one of the world’s largest by number of entries and highlights leading campaigns from more than 40 countries. The awards are judged by a senior panel of media agencies and advertisers and are open to everyone involved in advertising. The first ever MENA edition of the Festival of Media Awards is attracting a multitude of entries that reflect the diverse array of media operators producing high quality work across the pan-Arab region. The event promises to be a tightly fought and exciting competition.

How can media agencies get involved and attend the awards?
They can go to the, which is the global Festival of Media website. Clicking on the MENA section will bring up a background to the event, as well as contact details for further information. The site is updated regularly with news relating to the Festival, including its conference and awards ceremony.

Has the marketing campaign for the Festival of Media in Dubai been similar to that of the other events?
Yes, we are following strict guidelines from London, UK, which is home to the Festival of Media. These stipulate the procedures around hosting the event, including marketing and the governing of entry submissions.

What has been your advertising strategy?
Obviously, as two influential publishing organisations, both C Squared and Mediaquest have a wealth of high quality in-house marketing options that we can use to significantly raise the profile of the Festival of Media. Mediaquest has also partnered with one of the region’s leading public relations companies that has a strong background in promoting media awards programmes to further disseminate information about the event.

Are there any future plans between Mediaquest and C Squared in the works?
We have a number of additional activities that we are planning to launch as joint ventures in the future – more information about these will be announced soon. At present, we are focussing on the Festival of Media and the initial feedback we are receiving form delegates, sponsors and award applicants is already exceeding our expectations.

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