Fujairah unveils media free zone

Fujairah has revealed ambitious plans to launch a media free zone complete with new radio stations, a TV channel and a move into publishing.

  • E-Mail
By  Tim Addington & Vijaya Cherian Published  January 2, 2006

Fujairah has revealed ambitious plans to launch a media free zone complete with new radio stations, a TV channel and a move into publishing. As well as bidding to become a media owner in its own right, the emirate is also looking to become a cost effective alternative to Dubai Media City (DMC), although it denies that it is going into direct competition with its fellow emirate. The highlight of the new free zone will be a 200,000 m2 complex called Creative City, which is aimed at attracting freelance professionals, as well as media production, services and technology companies. “We will be offering our clients all the benefits of working in a free zone, such as 100% ownership, no tax for 50 years, a one-stop shop for all their visa requirements and so on,” says Mekki Abdulla, director of radio & marketing at FM. The US $50 million first phase of the development, which will equal the size of 18 football pitches, is being built alongside the new Fujairah highway, which will connect it to the Emirates Road leading to Dubai. The first phase is due to be completed by the end of 2007. “We have been working on developing this complex for two years. Initially, it was just going to be a radio station and a TV station, but that wasn’t going to cut the mustard any more, so it had to be different. We are not trying to be DMC. It has got too much to offer. We are going to be a cost effective alternative. For one, our lease rates will be more competitive because our construction costs are a lot cheaper. This is because in Fujairah, you are building on bedrock and this reduces the cost of construction at least by 20%. Fujairah also has the advantage of having a beautiful mountainous landscape, which will provide an ideal locale for filming,” adds Abdulla. What will also distinguish the Fujairah free zone from DMC is the fact that the group is not just providing smart offices, but also investing in equipment to support the production needs of its clients. “We will have a lot of state-of-the-art equipment here that our production and post production clients will be able to hire at subsidised rates. Tenders for the same will be released in the next few weeks,” says Abdulla. In the meantime, Fujairah Media, which is a joint venture between the Government of Fujairah’s investment arm and Arab International Media Services, launched its first Arabic language music station, FM 98.4 last month. The station has tied up with Radio Monte Carlo to broadcast its Arabic news service. It will also co-produce a one-hour show with French-based station, Radio Soleil to reach Arab audiences in Europe, US and Africa. An English language music station is scheduled for broadcast early next year, and this will be followed by two Asian language channels. The media group will also launch an Arabic language satellite TV station called Dunia TV in June this year. This will be aimed at Arab families. Local programming is being promised, as well as original content from Europe. Like Dubai’s Samacom, Fujairah Media will have Jebelcom. It will be the first in the country to offer terrestrial digital broadcasting, without users having to use a satellite receiver. “Our products and services reflect the creativity that is necessary to take media to the next level in the UAE and in this regard, we will have many more developments coming,” says Habib Hammoud, CEO of Fujairah Media. He added that three companies had shown interest in setting up base at Creative City already, but did not give further details.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code