Dubai looks to rival Cairo as TV commercial hub
The number of TV commercials filmed across the UAE is predicted to double in 2007 because of a new streamlined application process, it has been claimed. Dubai Studio City (DSC), which grants applications for filming at locations across the emirate, revealed that it granted 90 applications for filming TVCs in the UAE in 2006, and expects this number will rise to 180 this year.
The UAE has become an increasingly popular destination for filming TVCs, with applications last year from Germany, Italy, the UK and India.
So far in 2007, Jamal Al Sharif, director of DSC, said his department had received 27 applications from firms wanting to film TVCs in the UAE. "Out of the 350 applications that were approved in 2006, 90 were TVCs. One of the main reasons for this is the weather as are the landscape, availability of the crew, the equipment and the production facilities."
He said that another factor behind the rise in applications is the fact that DSC now offers a three-day turnaround application process through its Location Approval Service (LAS). Previous procedures took up to a fortnight.
Al Sharif said the most popular locations in Dubai are the lakes at Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City, the creek, beaches, Sheikh Zayed Road, and the Hatta Mountains. However, once Studio City is completed, companies will have the opportunity to film commercials on the development's three sound stages, two studios of 25,295sq ft, another of 15,000sq ft as well as a three million sq ft back lot where companies can build outdoor sets. "In this area, you could build, say, the Taj Mahal or maybe a White House," said Al Sharif. "It's a big open lot, with infrastructure, water, streets and roads."
Traditionally, Cairo has been the a major TV commercial filming hub in the Middle East. However, Al Sharif claimed it could soon be competing with Dubai. DSC, which is being built on 20 million sq ft within Dubailand, aims to attract production companies as well as providers of other related services.