Impressions from the Global Media Congress in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi:  Recently, I had the privilege to attend the Global Media Congress in Abu Dhabi. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural edition, the three-day event from November 14–16, 2023, organized by Capital Events, part of the ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center) group, in partnership with the Emirates News Agency, saw the participation of some of the world’s top industry leaders, specialists, and influencers, in addition to academics, youth, and university students. With the theme “Shaping the Future of the Media Industry,” this year’s congress addressed critical themes, aligning with global concerns. This is a wonderful opportunity, and I was really lucky to be invited to attend the event as a delegate.

This was the second time the Global Media Congress had been held. While I knew it would be large, I was surprised by just how enormous it was. I understand there were around 13,000 delegates, above 23000 attendees, 257 exhibiting brands, 172 participating countries, 160 globally renowned speakers, and seven main feature areas, but it felt even larger than this. With 36 main sessions covering diverse topics such as sustainability, innovation, cutting-edge media technologies, sports media, youth engagement, and the role of training and development in shaping the future of the media industry, the event promises in-depth exploration and discourse. Additionally, the conference introduced multiple platforms, including the Education Stage, Co-Production Majlis, Innovation Stage, NextTech, and Future Media Lab, all designed to investigate the convergence of media, education, and artificial intelligence.

Essentially, the GMC was a traditional conference and trade fair in one. At the venue, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), there was a large auditorium that hosted plenary sessions. Then, directly beside this, there was the main exhibition floor with all kinds of TV channels, news agencies, think tanks, and other media-related businesses. I spent a lot of time going around the room and introducing myself to the various exhibitors. I made some really useful connections and met some lovely people while doing so!

One of the many highlights was seeing Sky News Arabia in action; this is one of my favorite Arabic news channels, and they had a dedicated mini studio at the event, along with roving reporters and the ‘Sky News Academy’, which is a training center for Arabic-speaking journalists. I was lucky enough to attend a workshop on body language and communication in TV news. There was also a ‘conference within a conference’ in a special, box-like space on the main exhibition floor, which was called the ‘Media Future Labs’.

The inaugural Global Media Congress was very well organized and run. The event was inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Presidential Court. Various tours and activities were organized for the attendees, including visits to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is one of the main sights in Abu Dhabi. While I had been to Abu Dhabi before and had visited the mosque by day, this was my first time visiting the mosque at night, and it was truly magnificent.

One thing that was noticeable about the conference was that the foreign attendees were mainly from non-Western countries. I had a good chat with exhibitors from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, for example. There was also a big contingent from RT Arabic present as well. From the West, I noticed Euronews, France 24, CNN, BBC, and National Geographic, etc. And we could also see the presence of the media from China’s CCTV and CGTN. Additionally, Viory, the video news agency, entered into a content licensing partnership with CCTV (CCTV News Content Co.), allowing Viory clients access to CCTV’s content. The agency also became a member of AUB (African Union of Broadcasting), committing to the training of media professionals and content contributions to the AUBvision platform.

I’d recommend anyone who is interested in the media industry attend future events. Thanks again to everyone who made the event run so smoothly and made my attendance possible.




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